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BX 9339 .S52 1862 v. 6 
Sibbes, Richard, 1577-1635 
The complete works of 
Richard Sibbes, D.D 

Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2009 witii funding from 

Princeton Tlieological Seminary Library 




Mxt^ (general ^xdnn 







W. LINDSAY ALEXANDER, D.D., Professor of Theology, Congregational 
Union, Edinburgh. 

JAMES BEGG, D.D., Minister of Newington Free Church, Edinburgh. 
THOMAS J. CRAWFORD, D.D., S.T.P., Professor of Divinity, University, 

D. T. K. DRUMMOND, M.A., Minister of St Thomas's Episcopal Church, 

WILLIAM H. GOOLD, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature and Church 
History, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 

ANDREW THOMSON, D.D., Minister of Broughton Place United Presby- 
terian Church, Edinburgh. 

6fnfral ffi&itor. 
REV. THOMAS SMITH, M.A., Edinbukgh. 


















THE bride's LONGING. 








:^THE J 





(1.) The Tender Heart. . . . . • 27-43 

Doctrines : — 

[1.] God doth graciously fit prophets for persons and his 

word to a people that are upright in their hearts. 80 

[2.] It is a supernatural disposition of a true child of 

God to have a tender and a melting heart. . 32 

Wherein is discussed — 

The qualities of a tender heart. ... 32 

How a tender heart is wrought ! and] how preserved. 33 

How God is said to harden the heart. . ■ 38 

How to know that we have a sensibleness and pli- 

ableness. ..... 39 

How to recover ourselves from deadness of heart. 41 

(2.) The Art of Self-Humbling. .... 44-58 

Doctrines : — 

[l.J It is a disposition not unbefitting kings to humble 

themselves before God. .... 44 

[2.] The actions of grace are reflected actions. • 46 
Here are handled — 

The kinds and degrees of humiliation. . . 46 

How we may come to humble ourselves. . . 48 

Motives to humiliation. .... 51 

How true humiliation may be known. . . 52 

(3.) The Art of Mourning. .... 59-75 

Doctrines : — 

[1.] The body and soul must join together in the action 

of humiliation. ..... 62 


[2.J When God will afflict or humble a man, it is not a 

kingdom that will save him. ... 63 

[3.] Tears and mourning for sins, when it comes from 

inward grief, is a temper befitting any man. . 63 

[4.] It concerns magistrates above all others to be affected 

with the dangers and miseries of a land or nation. 64 

[5. J It is the duty of every Christian to take to heart the 

threatenings of God, against that place and people 

where he doth live. .... 65 

[6.] God takes a particular notice of the prayers we make 

to him. .... . . 72 

(4.) The Saint's Refreshing. .... 7G-90 

Doctrines : — 

[1.] God regards every good thing which his children do, 

and rewards them for the same. ... 77 

[2 and 3.] Death is nothing but a gathering, and pre-supposeth 
that God's children are all scattered in this world 
amongst wicked men. .... 78 

[4.] The changes of God's children are for the better 

still. ..... 78 

[5.] Burial is a comely and honourable thing. . 80 

[6.1 The miseries of this life may be such as that death 
may be much better then life, and far rather to be 
chosen. . . . . . 81 

[7.] Our times are in God's hand. ... 81 

[8.] It is the sight of misery which works the deepest 

impression. ..... 82 

[9.] Those which be dead ' in the Lord' are freed fi'om 

seeing any evil or misery. ... 83 

[10.] The righteous go to heaven, and cannot see or know 

our wants. ..... 83 

[11. J The lives of God's children do keep back evil jfrom 
the place where they live, and their death is a 
forerunner of judgment. ... 84 

[12. J All the evils which we suffer are from the evil of 

sin. ...... 86 

[13. J God will give good men faithful servants. . 88 

[14. J The care of a commonwealth and of a church is a 

duty belonging to the king. ... 88 


GEACE. 91-108 

Notes. ....... 108 


I Notes. ...... 132 




•f^fed of sin 


The childran of God fiiU into extremity of misery and affliction 

Six reasons of it. . 

Two uses of it : first, not rashly to censure ourselves or others 

secondly, against profane mockers at the dejected. 
Grod upholdeth his from sinking in trouble. 
Four reasons of it. . 
Seven uses of it. 
Affliction stirs up devotion. . 
Two uses of it. 

Prayers to be made only to God. 
How to make our prayers fervent. 
Six directions. 
Sin hinders prayer. 

The way to get out of misery is to get dischar 
The way to take away sin, is by confession. 
Sin is in the best. .... 
Community of olfenders lessens not sin. 
God makes his children see and feel what sin is. 
Four reasons of it. . 

How to be sensible of sin with seven directions. 
Three uses of it. . 

A soul stung with sin, should fly to the free mercy of 
God only can relieve a guilty conscience 
God only forgives sin. 
God's mercy is free. 
The best Christian needs forgiveness. 
Forgiveness is general to all that cast themselves on 

God's goodness stirs up to duty. 
It stirs up to faith, love, and fear. 
Three uses of it. 
We should wait upon God. . 
Four reasons of it. . 
Two uses of it. 


his free 



Pag b 




































There is difference of people. 

God will have soma in the worst times ; why. 

Comfort that God will have a church when we are gone. 

God's children but few. .... 

God hath a special care of these few. 

God's church and children afflicted in the world, and why. 

Outward poverty a help to poverty of spirit. 

Providence serviceable to predestination 

Spiritual poverty what it is not 

What it is. 

Degrees of this poverty. 

Before conversion. 

After conversion. 

Signs of spiritual poverty. 

How to come to spiritual poverty 

God trusted as he is known. 

Evidences of trust in God. . 

How to come to trust in God. 







. 265-292 

Wherein is laid open — 

Who are spiritual mourners, and what it is to mourn spiritually. 267 

That all godly mourning is attended with comfort. . . 271 

How spiritual mourning is known and discerned from other 

mournings. ...... 274 

Together with the means to attain it, and the trial thereof in 

sundrv instances. ..... 275 





Angels an host ; why. 

Of glorifying God. . 

The greatness of the glory of redemption. 

How to know whether we glorify God. 

Hindrance of God's glory. 

How to come to glorify God. 

Whence peace comet-. 

Peace wrought by Christ, why. 

, 315-366 




•How to know our peace with God. 

How to maintain peace with God. 

Motives to stir up to this peace. 

God's good will the ground of all good. 

yWhy God loves us in Christ. 

■How to know God loves us. 

Notes. .... 



Notes. ....... 381 


Wherein is shewn — 

That we may be assured of God's love unto us. 

Helps for weak Christians how to attain unto this love. 

Helps how to know that we have it in us. 

That Christ is in all believers. 

How to know that Christ is in us. . 

How, in a seeming absence, he is discovered to be in the soul 

How to keep Christ there, and how to recover him being lost. 




To the Reader. 

. 413-486 




. 487-516 



. .517-534 

THE BRIDE'S LONGING, • • • ^53-560 

To the Reader. . . . . . . . 537 

The church's happiness consummate in heaven. . . 539 

Of the word Amen. ..... 540 

Doct. 1. The hearts of God's children are pliable to all 



divine truths; more to the promises; above all, to the 
promises of Christ's second coming. . . 541 

Reason 1. There is a suitableness between a sanctified heart 

and sanctified truths. . . . . 541 

Reason 2. There is a spiritual taste infused to relish those 

truths. . , . . . .541 

3. The Church's will is not her own, but Christ's. 541 

4. There is a spiritual contract between Christ and 

the soul. ..... 541 

Reason 5. It is a seal of effectual calling. . . 541 

What efiectual calling is. . . . 541 

Use 1. If we find an unpliableness on our part, to beg the 

performance of the covenant of grace. . . 541 

Motives to give our Amen : — 

Motive 1. God honours us in having our consent. . 542 

Motive 2. We honour God in sealing to his truth. . 542 

Use 2. A reproof of two sorts : 

1. Those which have no 'Amen' for God. . . 542 

2. Those which have a false ' Amen.' . . . 542 
The desires of the Spirit, the true characters of a Christian. . 543 
Desires resembled to a stream in sundry particulars. 

They come from a good spring. . , . 543 

They carry all before them. .... 543 

They swell by opposition. .... 544 

They are restless till they are emptied. . . 544 

They increase in running, . . . , 544 

6. They rest in their proper place. . . . 544 

7. They constantly send up vapours. . . . 544 
Five observations making way to the main point : — 

1. There will be a second coming of Christ, more glorious 

than the former. . . . . . 544 

2. A Christian that hath true faith in the times to come, 

will have answerable desires and prayers. . . 544 

B. A gracious heart turns promises into desires and prayers. 545 

4. The more assured one is of any thing, the more effectual 

it makes him pray. .... 545 

5. God's promises have gradual performances. . . 546 
The sixth and main point — 

6. It is the duty and disposition of a gracious heart to desire 

the glorious coming of Christ, and all his other 
comings, in way and order to this, as they make 
way for his last coming. .... 546 

Reason 1. The Church is in ^Yant till then. . . 547 

Reason 2. Our life is hid with Christ in God. . . 547 

Reason 3. Christ is, in some sort, imperfect till then. . 547 

Reason 4. Where the treasure is, there will the heart be. . 547 

Reason 5. The members are carried to union with the Head. 547 

Reason 6. By comparing it v.ith glory here, in sundry par- 
ticulars. ...... 548 

Reason 7. From the state of the church at the best in this 
world, in regard of troubles without and corruptions 
within. ...... 549 


Trials of our desires for the second coming of Christ : — 
Trial 1. By seeing what benefit we have by the first coming 

of Christ. ...... 550 

Trial 2. By our preparing for it. . . . . 550 

Trial 3. Whether our hearts be in the kingdom of Christ 

now. ...... 551 

Trial 4. By our holy exercises. .... 55l 

Directions enabling us to utter this desire and praj^er : — 

Direct. 1. Labour to be reconciled to God. , . 552 

Direct. 2. Labour to grow in the new creature. . . 552 

Direct. 3. Be sure to do what you do thoroughly and quickly. 552 

Direct. 4. Take all advantages to help this desire and prayer, 

from crosses and Satan. .... 553 

Two objections answered : — 

Obj. 1. I find I am not so desirous of the coming of Christ 

as I ought. ..... 554 

Ohj. 2. But I desire to live still. .... 554 

A pressing exhortation to long for the second coming of 
Christ, and from thence also to quicken ourselves in 
our Christian work. .... 

A conclusion — 

Upon the particular occasion. . . 556 



' The FaithM Covenanter' forms a portion of the miscellaneoiis sermons of ' Evan- 
gelical Sacrifices' (4to, 1640). Its separate title-page is given telow.* For general 
title-page, see Vol. V. page 156. G. 

* T H E 



In two Sermons upon Gen. 

17. 7. 


The late Learned and Reverend Divine, 


Doctor in Divinity, M'' of Katherine Hall 

in Camhridge, and sometimes Preacher 

to the Honourable Society of 

G K A y E S-I N N E. 

Nehe. 1. 5. 

Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that 
keepeth Covenant and mercy for them that Love him. 

Printed by E. Purslow, for N. Bourne, at the Roy- 
all Exchange, and R. Harford at the gilt 
Bible in Queenes head Alley, in Pater- 
Noster-Row. 16 3 9. 


/ wUl estciMlsh my covenant betireen me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in 
their generations, for an everlastiny covenant, to be a God to thee, and to 
thy seed after thee. — Gen. XVII. 7. 

God having framed man an understanding creature, hatli made him fit to 
have communion and intercourse with himself; because he can by his 
understanding discern that there is a better good out of himself, in com- 
munion and fellowship with which, happiness consists. Other creatures — 
wanting understanding to discern a better good out of than in themselves, 
their life being their good — desire only the continuance of their own being, 
without society and fellowship with others. But man, having the knowledge 
of God, the Creator of heaven and earth, but especially of God the 
Redeemer, providing for him a second being better than his first, undev- 
standeth that his best and chiefest good dependeth more in him than in 
himself; and because his happiness standeth in acquaintance and fellow- 
ship with this God, which is the chief good, he desireth a communion with 
him, that he may partake of his good. 

This communion and fellowship of man with God, was first founded on 
a covenant of works made with Adam in paradise. If he did obey, and 
did not eat of the forbidden fruit, he should have life both for himself and 
his posterity ; the which covenant, because God would not have forgotten, 
he afterward renewed in the delivery of the ten commandments, requiring 
from man obedience to them in his own person, exactly, at all times, per- 
petually : promising life on the obedience, and threatening death and cursing 
if he continued not in everything the law required to do. But this fellow- 
ship being placed in man's own freedom, and having so weak a foundation, 
he lost both himself and it, so that now by the first covenant of works, 
Adam and all his posterity ai'e under a curse ; for we cannot fulfil the law 
that requireth personal obedience, perfect obedience, and exact obedience. 
He that ' continueth not in all is cursed,' Gal. iii. 10. The law then 
findeth us dead and killeth us. It findeth us dead before, and not only 
leaves us dead still, but makes us more dead. 

Now after this fall, man's happiness was to recover again his communion 
and fellowship with God ; and therefore we must have a new covenant before 
we can have life and comfort. God must enter into new conditions with 
us before we can have any communion with him. 


God therefore, loving man, doth after the breach of the first agreement 
and covenant, when Adam had lost himself by his sin, and was in a most 
miserable plight as ever creature was in the world, falling from so great a 
happiness into wondrous misery ; he raised him up and comforted him by 
establishing a second, a new and better covenant, laying the foundation of 
it in the blessed seed of the woman, Christ the Messiah, who is the ground 
of this new covenant, and so of our communion and fellowship with God, 
without whom there can be no intercourse between God and us in love. 
And because this covenant was almost forgotten, therefore now in Abraham's 
time God renewed it to Abraham in this place : * I will be thy God, and the 
God of thy seed after thee,' &c. 

There are four periods of time of renewing this covenant : first, from 
Adam to Abraham ; and in those first times of the world, those that were 
under the covenant were called the 'sons and daughters of God,' 'the chil- 
dren of the promise,' and the covenant of grace was called a promise of the 
blessed seed. 

Secondly, From Abraham to Moses ; and then it was called a covenant, 
and they the children of the covenant. ' I will estabhsh my covenant.' A 
covenant is more than a promise, and a more solemn thing, because there 
be ceremonies. 

The third period of renewing the covenant of grace was from Moses to 
Christ ; and then it was more clear, whenas to the covenant made with 
Abraham, who was sealed with the sacrament of circumcision, the sacra- 
ment of the paschal lamb was added, and all the sacrifices Levitical ; and 
then it was called a testament. That diflereth a little from a covenant ; 
for a testament is established by blood, it is established by death. So 
was that ; but it was only with the blood and death of cattle sacrificed as 
a type. 

But now, to* Christ's time to the end of the world, the covenant of grace 
is most clear of all ; and it is now usually called the New Testament, being 
established by the death of Christ himself ; and it diflers from a covenant 
in these respects : 

First, A testament indeed is a covenant, and something more. It is a cove- 
nant sealed by death. The testator must die before it can be of force. So 
all the good that is conveyed to us by the testament it is by the death of 
the testator, Christ. God's covenant with us now, is such a covenant as is 
a testament, sealed with the death of the testator, Christ ; for ' without 
blood there is no redemption,' Heb. ix. 22 ; without the death of Christ 
there could be no satisfaction, and without satisfaction there could be no 
peace with God. 

Secondly, A testament hequeatheth good things merehj of love. It giveth 
gifts freely. A covenant requireth something to be done. In a testament, 
there is nothing but receiving the legacies given. In covenants, ofttinies 
it is for the mutual good one of another, but a testament is merely for their 
good for whom the testament is made, to whom the legacies are bequeathed; 
for when they are dead, what can they receive from them ? God's cove- 
nant now is such a testament, sealed with the death of Christ, made out 
of love merely for our good ; for what can God receive of us ? All is 
legacies from him ; and though he requireth conditions, requireth faith and 
obedience, yet he himself fulfilleth what he asketh, giveth what he i-equir- 
eth, giveth it as a legacy, as we shall see afterward. 

Thus you see that the communion and fellowship of man with God, must 
* Qu. 'from'?— Ed. 


either be by a covenant of works or by a covenant of grace. And we must 
distinguish exactly between these two covenants and the periods of them. 

When the covenant of works was disannulled by our sins, because we 
could not fulfil the law exactly and perpetually, God will have a new cove- 
nant. If we believe in Christ, we shall have everlasting life. Now, if we 
stick to the one, we must renounce the other. If it be of faith, it is not of 
works ; and if it be of works, it is not of faith. This was excellently signi- 
fied by Joshua and Moses. Joshua bringeth the people to Canaan, and 
not Moses. Moses doth not bring any to heaven. It must be Joshua, 
the type of the true Jesus, that must bring them through Jordan to 
Canaan. This was typified also in the ark. There was the law, the 
covenant of works in the ark, but the propitiator}^ the mercy-seat, was 
above the ark, above the law, and from thence God made all his answers ; 
to signify to us that we can have nothing to do with the law without the 
propitiatory. Christ is the propitiatory, the mercy-seat. In Christ God 
heareth us. He makes all his answers in the propitiatory, Christ. There- 
fore when the question is our salvation, how we have title to heaven, not 
by the merit of works, for then we reverse the covenant of grace ; but our 
title is merely by God's mercy in Christ apprehended by faith. The evi- 
dence indeed to prove our faith to be a true faith, is from works, but the 
title we have is only by Christ, only by grace. Here we must appeal from 
Sinai to Sion ; from the law to the gospel ; from Moses to Christ. We must 
fly with Joab to the horns of the altar, 1 Kings ii. 28. That must be our 
refuge. Fly to Christ in the covenant of grace, and we shall not be pulled 
fi'om thence, as Joab was from the altar. There let us live and die. 

Remember, I say, that the covenant of grace is distinct in the whole kind 
from the covenant of works ; yet this, they are both in the church, and 
both taught, one subordinate to the other ; as thus, the covenant of works 
is taught to shew us our failing, that seeing our own disability to perform 
what the law requireth, we may be forced to the new covenant of grace. 
And therefore, saith Paul, * By the law I am dead to the law,' Gal. ii. 19. 
It is an excellent speech, ' By the law I am dead to the law ; ' by the cove- 
nant of works I am dead to the covenant of works. That is, by the law's 
exacting of me exact and perpetual obedience in thought, word, and deed, 
I come to see that I cannot fulfil it, and therefore am dead to the law ; that 
is, I look for no salvation, for no title to heaven by that ; and therefore he 
saith, ' The law was added for transgression.' Why was the law added to 
the promise of salvation by Christ made here to Abraham ? Why was the 
covenant of works added in the wilderness afterwards ? It was for trans- 
gression, to increase the sense of transgression, that we by the law might 
see what we should do, and what we have not done, and that we are by 
that come under a curse, and so might fly to the promise of grace in Christ. 
I have stood the longer in the clearing of this, because it is a main point. 
But to come to that which I specially intend. The words, as I said before, 
contain the renewing of this blessed and gracious agreement between God 
and man to Abraham, the father of the faithful. 

' I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after 
thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be thy God, and 
the God of thy seed after thee.' 

The words, you see, contain a covenant; and here are all things — all 
the articles and circumstances that agree to any covenant whatsoever. 

Here are the parties, both that make the covenant and that are cove- 
nanted with. 


Here is the substance of the covenant, and the qualities of the covenant, 
and the condition of the covenant. 

The party making the covenant is God, 'I will be thy God.' 

God is the part}- covenanting. God indeed is both the party covenanting 
and the substance of the covenant : ' I will be a God to thee.' They fall 
both together in one. It is a most sweet sign of God's great love, that he 
will stoop so low as to make a covenant with us, to be our God ; to be him- 
self all in all to us. For consider but both these parties : God and we ; 
the Creator and the creature ; the immortal God and mortal man ; the 
glorious God and ' dust and ashes ; ' the holy God and sinful man ; the 
great King of heaven and earth, and rebels and traitors as we are. For 
him to condescend so low as to make a covenant with us, to enter into 
terms and articles of agreement with us, it is a wondrous sign of his gra- 
cious mercy and love. What can we but hope for from so gracious a God ? 
But I shall have occasion to touch that afterward. 

The parties covenanted with, are Abraham and his seed — his seed by 

The substance of the covenant is, ' I will be a God to thee and to thy 
seed after thee.' 

The qualities of the covenant are, first, it is a sure covenant : ' I will 
establish my covenant.' 

Secondly, It is an everlastbuj covenant : ' I will establish my covenant 
for an everlasting covenant.' 

Thirdly, It is a peculiar covenant : ' I will establish my covenant between 
me and thee and thy seed; that is, only between me and thee, and thy seed; 
not with the refuse of the world, but only with thy seed by promise ; only 
believers, whether Jews or Gentiles. 

Fourthl}^, It is a m.O'&i free covenant. It was made to Abraham, whom 
God called out of Ur of the Chaldees, out of an idolatrous nation, out of 
an idolatrous family ; even as it was at the first most freely made to Adam 
in paradise, when he was in a most desperate estate. When he was as low 
as hell in a manner, ready to sink into despair, then the ' seed of the 
woman' was promised. So here it was freely made to good Abraham: 
First, the love of God was free to him when he called him, being an idola- 
ter ; and then it was freely renewed afterward, when he was good, as we 
shall see anon. 

And lastly, It is a covenant consisting most of spiritual things. It is a 
spiritual covenant. I mean especially, promising spiritual favours, although 
the other things, as appendices of the main, are likewise meant. For after 
that the covenant was made to Abraham and his posterity, they endured 
many afllictions. After the promise was renewed to Jacob, we know he 
fled from his brother Esau, to whom the covenant of grace was not made, 
and yet of Esau presently came duke such a one, and duke such a one. 
Gen. xxxvi. 15, seq. ; and poor Jacob was fain to fly for his life in regard 
of the promise. So that I say it must be specially of spiritual blessings. 

These are the qualities of the covenant. It is a sure, an everlasting, a 
peculiar, and a most free covenant, aiming specially at spiritual things. 

And then, lastly, you have the condition of the covenant ; and that, 
though it is not expressed, yet it is implied. * I will be thy God, and the 
God of thy seed.' Therefore thou shalt take me for thy God, carry thy- 
self to me as to thy God, &c. It is usual in other places of Scripture, where 
mention is made of this covenant, to imply the condition required on our 
parts. Sometimes both the covenant and condition are mentioned together. 


as in Zee.. .U, 9. ■ nviU say, -it^ «i; I'^Sfot:: 'yit:V^l 

peculiar ones. , ,. , , ^ > 

' I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed. , 

Though these words, ' I will he a God to thee, and to thy seed oe ine 

or anything else. 

tL: is the'l^nti in the Messiah ; but first, what is it to be a God ? 
ihis IS t^^^°^^^^^' Jf , ^^^ it i^ the general, is to give hemg to the 
I answer To be ^ ^fnituelf and to protect and preserve the creature 
creature hat had no ^^^^'Ojff^^^^ is the perpetuity 

^a Its hemg : in a word, to be ^ "^^^^^ \^^^ The office of God, as 

andcontmuanceofcreation. Thisistobea^o^^^ matter, but to 

God, is a most glorious function, io be a Kin„ ^^.f'^^^^ -. i,„th a beincr, 
be a God to give being to the creature, to support it v^hen Yffi.f, ^^hn 
to do dl thatlod shoSld do, this is a most glono- work Bu th s is bu 

creation. This is not intended -l---lly ^.^^' [^J^^X Go^^^ of aU l^e men 
his works. Thus by creation and preservation he is tlie uoa ox 

in the world out of the church. , 

What is then to be thy God ? ' I will be tby God 
I answer. To be a God in a ^^ P^^^^^ ^^^Ic n^^^^^^^^ 
covenant ; that is, not only to be a God to P^^^^,^.'^^, ^"^''Ition to us ; to be 
of ours in a civil life, but it is to be a God in a hi^er ela^^^^ ^°.^^ ' ^^ ^ 

a God in a reference to an eternal, .«^^Pf -^^t^^'^^ f ^^^^^^^Ja's ^ M in a 
God here in g-f, and hei.after m ^^^^^^^^^^ 

gracious covenant, only by Jesus <^^^f ^' f^Vnrl in Christ ' to give thee a 
?I will be thy God ;' that is, < I will be '"^^ ^^;^\:^J^2 ^ ^^^ 
better being than this world can afiord to ^^f e tiiee norn ternally ; 

thou art in by nature; to deliver thee from all 11, ^^^^^J^^^^^^^^^ especiali; 
especially to bestow on thee all good, BP-itually and eternally epecia^y 
as we have it in the words of the covenant, _ Gen ^^^ 1' ^^^^^ ^^^ I 
shield and thy exceeding gi.^t reW , a ^^-\^ ^o ^keep^^^^^ 


'r'^' ' ' Thists t: bfi Go" ^a perii^r rnnrrgrall things 


things requisite to brmg us to ^eaven and ^^W^ ^^0 ; to%e all in all ; 

whom all the promises are yea and amen, Z Coi. i. ^u , 

to direct the protections and provisions of his life, of our ^^ta l^^ere to^ 

supernatural happiness hereafter, to a state beyond ^^^^^f ' . J^^^^^^^f^e 

the favours of this life, so that he takes them away or ^ g-^^^^^tGod a 

seeth them advantageous, or hindrances to a better e ta^^ bo 

God to those that are in covenant with him To do aU t^^^'^^^ .^ 

this in opposition of all enemies whatsoever ; to do a ^^/^^y/^^^^^^^ 

the impotency of the creature ; to do all this when all ^^«^f /^^^^^ our 

trary, as it were, to bring a man to heaven in ^^l^^^'^^ ^^^^^^^^^ 

own corruptions, or all 0Pl--^--;t1hv^^;j'. Why doth he not say, 
But why doth he say only, ' I will be thy Orod . vv uy uu 



I will give thee grace and protection, I will give thee heaven and life ever- 
lasting ? 

Because all is one, for all things in the world are in this one promise, 
' I will be thy God.' See the wisdom of heaven, how much he speaks in 
how little. There cannot be more spoken than thus, ' I will be thy God.' 
For in saying, ' I will be thy God,' he implies that whatsoever he is, or 
hath, or can do, shall be thine too. ' I will be thy God ; ' that is, my 
wisdom shall be thine, to watch over thee, to find out ways to do thee good ; 
my power shall be thine, to keep thee from danger, to defend and rescue 
thee from all enemies, and to subdue them by degrees unto thee ; my pro- 
vidence shall be thine, to turn all things to thy good ; my mercy shall be thine, 
to forgive thy sins ; my love shall be thine, to bestow on thee all necessary 
comforts. There is no phrase in the Scripture that hath so much in so 
little as this here, ' I will be thy God,' if we could unfold and lay open this 
excellent promise. All other particular promises in the covenant of grace 
are members of this. What is the reason, as Saint Paul saith, ' all things 
are yours?' 'Because you are Christ's, and Christ is God's,' 1 Cor. iii. 23. 
God is the God of Christ, and our God. We are in covenant with the God 
of Christ. Christ ;is the heir of all, and we are members of Christ. God 
who is the God of all things is ours. It is a wondrous comprehensive promise. 

* I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed.' 

The substance of the covenant then is, that God will be a God to us. The 
point to be observed is this, that God gmcioudij in the blessed seed, the Messiah, 
Christ Jesm, he takes iipon him to he a God to all those that are in covenant 
with him; that is, to be all-sufficient, to bring us to happiness — all-sufficient 
in this world and in the world to come, to be our portion, to be all in all. 

This is the first and fundamental promise of all other. Indeed, it is the life 
and soul of all the promises, and it is the life and soul of all comfort what- 
soever. For all other relations spoken of God tend to this, that he is ' our 
God.' This is before to be a Father, before to be anything. God first is 
a God, and then a Father, and then all in all to us. As he is first the 
God of Christ, and then the Father of Christ ; as you have it usually in 
the beginnings of the epistles, ' God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ;' 
first the God, and then the Father. To be a God, then, is the fundamental 
and principal favour. From thence cometh our election ; his choosing of 
us to eternal salvation before all time ; his protection and preservation of 
us in time unto heaven. 

I shall not need to speak more of this, having unfolded it before. 

But you will say, How shall we know that this covenant belongeth to us ? 
that we are such as we may say, God is our God ? 

I answer, first — to lay this for a ground — ^j^ou must know that to be a 
God is a relation. Whosoever God is a God to, he persuadeth them by 
his Spirit that he is a God to. The same Spirit that persuadeth them 
that there is a God, that Spirit telleth them that God is their God, and 
works a qualification and disposition in them, as that they may know that 
they are in covenant with such a gracious God. The Spirit as it revealeth 
to them the love of God, and that he is theirs, so the Spirit enableth them 
to claim him for their God, to give up themselves to him as to their God. 

And the Spirit doth this, because friends cannot be in covenant and con- 
federate without there be a likeness or an agreement. There must be more 
words then, on* to a covenant. Though God's grace do all, yet we must 
give our consent ; and therefore the covenant is expressed under the title 
* Qu. ' than one ' ?— Ed. 



of marriage. In marriage there must be a consent of both parties. In 
reconciliation between a king and subjects, that are fallen out, when they 
are rebels, there must be an accepting of the pardon, and a promise of new 
subjection. So then if God be our God, there will be grace given to take 
him for our God ; to give him homage as a king ; to give him our consent 
as to our spouse. ' Thou shalt be my God, and I will cleave to thee, as 
to my lord and husband.' ' Can two walk together,' saith the prophet, 
' and not be friends T Amos iii. 3. There can be no friendship with God, 
except there be somewhat wrought in us by his Spirit, to make us fit for 
friendship, that we may look on him as an object of love and delight. If 
we look on him as an object of hatred, what terms of friendship can there 
be ? Now, that we may look on him as an object of love, fit for converse 
with him, he must make us such by consent and yielding to him, by framing 
the inward man to his Hkeness, that so there may a peace be mamtamed 
with him. You see the ground of it, of necessity it must be so. 

Well, to come to the trials. But let me first add this to the former : 
wJwmsoever God is a God to, it is Inwivn speciaUy by spiritual and etenial 
favours. A man cannot know certainly that God is his God by outward and 
common things that castaways may have ; for a castaway may have Ish- 
mael's blessing and Esau's portion, blessings of the left hand, common 
graces. To know undoubtedly, therefore, that God is our God, must be 
by peculiar matters ; for those whose God God is are a pecuUar people, _a 
holy nation, severed from others. First of all, then, know what the Spirit 
of God saith to thy soul ; for they that are God's have his Spirit, to reveal 
to their spirits the secret and hidden love of God. But if the voice of the 
Spirit be silent in regard of testimony, go to the work of the Spirit; but 
go to the peculiar work of the Spirit. For though the Spirit may be silent 
in regard of his testimony, yet there are some works or other of the Spirit 
in a man, whereby he may know that God is his God ; as the Spirit of 
God works in some sort a proportion in him unto God, and none can know 
better what God is to him than by searching of his own heart, what hp is 
back again to God ; for as God saith to him by his Spirit, Thou art mine, 
BO they say to God, Thou art mine. Let us then come to the trial by our 
carrying ourselves to God. Can we say with David, 'Whom have ^I m 
heaven but thee ?' or ' What is there in earth in comparison of thee ?' Ps. 
Ixxiii. 25. When the conscience can tell us that we make God our trea- 
sure and our portion above all earthly things, then we make him our God. 
A Christian single th out God above all things in the world for his happi- 
ness. Lord, thou art mine ! Whatsoever wealth is mine, or riches mine, 
or friends mine— I stand not upon that, but thou art mine. A rich man 
runneth to his wealth, and makes flesh his arm. He runneth to friends, 
to bear him out in ill causes ; but a true Christian that hath God for his 
God, he may know it by this, he singleth out God for his portion, runs to 
him in all extremities. Lord, thou art mine. This is a sign that God 
hath said to his soul first, ' I am thy salvation,' Ps. xxxv. 3. How can 
the soul appropriate God to himself? How can he say, as Thomas 
did, ' My Lord and my God,' John xx. 28, except the Lord have spoken 
peace to the soul before, and have said, ' I am thy salvation ' ? It 
is a sign we have made God our God, when we prize him and value 
him above all the world ; and when, with St Paul, Phil. iii. 8, we count 
all things ' dung and dross, in comparison of Jesus Christ our Lord. 
What we will do most for, that is our god. If we will do most for God, 
he is our God. If we do most for pleasures, they are our god. If we do 


most for riches, break our rests and crack our consciences for them, that 
is our god. In a word, whatsoever we value highest, that is our god. 

Examine lokat affections ice have to God : for it is affection that makes a 
Christian. Single out some few that we are most offending in. As, first, 
for/6'a;-, it may shame us all. Indeed, a Christian upon his best resolution 
is better. But the ordinary carriage of men is, they fear men more than 
God ; they fear everything more than him that they should fear above all. 
For instance, is the retired carriage of men to God such as their carriage 
is to the eye of the world ? Will not they do that in secret ofttimes that 
they will not do openly ? In secret they will commit this or that sin, and 
think, Who seeth ? There are secret abominations in the closet of their 
hearts. They will not fear to do that in the eye of God, that they fear to 
do in the eye of a child of sis years old, that is of any discretion. Is this 
to make God our God, when we fear the eye of a silly mortal creature more 
than the eye of God, that is ten thousand times brighter than the sun, that 
is our judge ? Is God our God the whiles ? Undoubtedly, when God is 
made our God, there is an awe of the eye of heaven upon a man in all 
places. Therefore this is the condition of the covenant, ' Walk before me,' 
or ' Walk as in my sight,' 1 Sam. ii. 30. How do we walk before God as 
in his sight, when there is such a great deal of difference in our carriage 
secretly, and before the eyes of men ? when we labour more to approve 
our carriage to men, than we make conscience of our spirits to God ? This 
may shame us. Even the best of us who are in covenant with God, and 
have made God our God, we have cause to be abased for this : and surely 
one of the best ways to make God's children abased and humbled, is to 
compare the different proportion of their carriage ; how they carry them- 
selves to men whom they respect, and to outward things in the world, and 
how they carry themselves to God. If God be our God, there will be an 
universal fear and care to please God in all times and in all places, because 
he is everywhere ; darkness and light are all one to him. 

Try yourselves therefore by this affection. If ive make God our God, ive 
will fear him above all ; for there being such a distance between God and us — 
he the mighty God, and we creatures whose breath is in our nostrils — there 
can no other way be a covenant of peace betwixt us, but with much reve- 
rence. Therefore all Christians are reverent creatures ; they do all in 
fear ; they pass ' the whole time of the conversation here in fear,' 1 Peter 
iii. 2 ; they ' make an end of their salvation with fear and trembling,' Philip, 
ii. 12 ; they enjoy their liberties in fear. St Jude makes mention of a 
number of wretched people in his time, that ate without fear, ver. 12. You 
may know a man that hath not this grace of God in his heart, by his un- 
reverent carriage. He never thinks of the presence and all-seeing eye of 
God. A Christian that hath God to his God, knows that wheresoever he 
is, he is in the eye of heaven. Therefore he is jealous, even of his own 
most secret corruptions. He knows that they are lawless of themselves ; 
and therefore he always sets himself in the presence of God. He is full of 
reverence, full of fear, even in the enjoying of his Christian liberties. 

So likewise for the affection of love. If God be thy God, thou hast grace 
given thee to love him above all things. With whom God is graciously 
reconciled, he giveth them his Spirit to be reconciled back again to him. 
He loveth us, and we love him again ; for we are by nature enemies to 
God, as he is to us. There is no wicked man in the world can love God ; 
indeed, as God is a God that promiseth salvation, he loveth him — he 
would fain have that, and therefore would fain be in his favour — but he 


cannot love God as he is in all respects ; but lie hateth bim, and be bateth 
bis cbildren. He trifletb witb bis name by oaths and blasphemy, and the 
like. He scorneth God. He wisbeth that there were no God. Can this 
man say that God is his God, when be doth not carry himself back again 
to bim in bis affection as his God ? No such matter. He is God's enemy, 
and God is his enemv. So if God be our God, if he have set his love upon 
us, we cannot but love bim again. If he be reconciled to us, we are recon- 
ciled to bim. This is a sure sign that God is our God, if we love bim 

above all. -77 

Now, that may be known ij xve he zealous when God is dishonoured any 
u-aij ; for whatsoever we make our god, we will not endure to have touched. 
If a man make bis lust his god, if that be touched, be is all m achate. 
When that which a man loveth is touched, experience shews it, be is pre- 
sently all on a fire. And here the best Christians have cause to be_ abased. 
Hath God their love, when they can hear bim disgraced, and bis name 
abused, without being greatly moved, and yet notwithstanding, in the mean 
time, will not endure their own credit to be touched, but they are, as i 
said, all on a fire ? Where there is no zeal, there is no love. Certainly 
when we can bear God's children misused, and religion endangered, and pro- 
fession scofled at, &c., and yet not be affected, nor cannot take God's cause 
to heart, this is great fault in our love. 

And so for joy and delight : we make God our God when we joy in 
him above all things in the world; when we make him our boast all 
the day long, as it is Ps. xliv. 8 ; when we make him our glory, as he 
is called our glory in Jer. ii. 11, ' They changed their glory.' God is 
our glory if he be our God. We count it our chiefest glory that we are 
his, and that he is durs. Whatsoever our estates be, we glory m God, 
and not in ourselves. A Christian when be would joy and gloiy, he 
goeth out of himself to God, be is his joy. But do not men joy m the 
creature, and delight in it ofttimes more than in God ? It is a great shame 
for us, and that for which even the best of us all may be abased, to con- 
sider what a deal of delight and comfort we take in the creature more than 
in God. We see Jonah, a good man, when bis gourd was taken from bim, 
that God raised up to be a shelter for him— a poor simple defence it was ; 
and yet we see bow pettish the good man was. All the comfort be had 
could not keep bim from anger and fretting when the gourd was gone ; and 
yet God was his God. So many men, whereas they should joy m God 
above all things, yet if God take outward comforts from them, they are as 
if there were no God in heaven, no comfort there ; as if there were no pro- 
vidence to rule the world ; as if they had no Father in covenant with them. 
I say this is a great shame for us. 

Again, If God be our God, we will trust in him, rely and depend upon 
him above all things ; for whatsoever our trust is most in, that is our god. 
Now if our conscience tell us that we trust most in God, more than in 
wealth or friends, and will not, to displease God, please any man, it is a 
sign that we have made God our God, because we trust in bim. _ And 
surely, if we would examine ourselves, the best of us all, it would bring us 
on our knees, and make our faces be confounded, to consider what a deal 
of atheism there is in our heart (though we are not altogether atheists, yet 
what a deal there is), that must be mortified and subdued. For if an honest 
man, and that we know is faithful, should say to us, I will be yours ; I 
will take upon me to provide for you, to defend you, to protect you, to 
stand by you against all adversaries ; we believe and hope that he will do 

12 THE 'faithful COVENANTER. 

it. But do we so to God ? Hath he our trust and affiance ? Alas, no ! 
so far forth, I mean, as we are not subdued to God. A Christian, indeed, 
in some measure is enabled to make God his trust and confidence, but there 
remains abundance of atheism even in the best of us. If God be our God, 
why do we not trust in him, depend upon him for all things ; depend upon 
him for protection and deliverance from all ill, spiritual ill specially, from 
sin, Satan, hell, and wrath ; depend upon him for all good, the good of 
grace specially, for the change of our nature and the forgiveness of our 
sins, for spiritual privileges, adoption and sonship, for the inheritance 
of heaven, &c. It is a sign, I say, that God is our God when we trust in 
him above all the world, and trust other things only from him and for him. 
I will trust man, but man may deceive me. I will not trust him therefore 
with an absolute confidence. No. That were to make a god of him. 
What is the reason that God confoundeth proud men at last ? David 
shews the reason. ' This man he took not the Lord for his God.' When 
men will, in contempt of religion, set up themselves and somewhat else to 
rely on, besides God, God at the last brings it to pass, that the world shall 
note them out. This man trusted in his greatness ; he trusted in his policy, 
in his wit, in his friends ; this man took not the Lord for his God. 

Again, If we make God our God, we may know it by our obedience, espe- 
cially by the obedience of the inward man. When the inward man is vowed 
to God, when a man yieldeth inward obedience to God, it is a sign that God 
is his God. When a man can arraign his thoughts and desires before God, 
and when lusts rise in his heart contrary to the Spirit, he checks them pre- 
sently. This becometh not those that are God's ; it beseemeth not those 
that walk after God, that have God's Spirit for their leader. Therefore he 
is ashamed presently of base tentations.* A Christian can perform the 
first and last commandments, which are the most spiritual commandments. 
He can make God his God in his affections. His affections are placed upon 
him alone, as I have shewed before. He can yield up all his inward 
affections of fear and love and joy, and such like, unto God, which is the 
sum of the first commandment ; and he can be content not to have his lusts 
rage and range, sujDpresses his very thoughts and desires, will not suffer 
anything to rise in his heart unchecked and uncontrolled, which is the sum 
of the tenth commandment. I mean, he can do it in some measure. And 
there is a inward passive obedience too. It is God, as David and other 
saints said. ' It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good in his 
own eyes,' Ps. cxix. 68. I am God's, and he shall dispose of me. The 
soul that knoweth God to be his God hath an inward obedience of conten- 
tation with his estate. God is my portion, and it is large enough. The 
earth is his, and the fulness thereof, Ps. xxiv. 1. Therefore I will be con- 
tent to be at his disposing, whether it be more or less ; and if any murmuring 
arise in his heart, against God in respect of his estate or otherwise, he 
presently suppresseth it, as being contrary to the blessed government that 
a Christian is under, that should resign his whole soul unto God. 

Thus by our affections, by the trial of them, we may know whether God 
be our God, if we give him the affections of the heart, which religion most 
stands in ; when we make the whole inward man stoop, and bow, and bend 
unto him ; when we make him our king, and give him the supremacy ; 
when we set the crown upon his head ; when he hath our fear, our joy and 
delight, our love, our trust ; I mean, when he hath the supreme of all, for 
we may love man, as God derivethf good to us by him, and so for the rest. 
* That is, ' temptations.' — G. % That is, ' communicateth.' — G. 


But God must be supreme. Others must be loved and feared, &c., in him 
and for him, but he chiefly, when we depend upon him for all deliverance 
out of ill and for all good, and shew our dependence on him by our subjec- 
tion to him in all his ways, by our yielding to him obedience answerable to 
all this ; and especially when we shall shew it by performing inward worship 
to him, when we walk before him perfectly and sincerely, as it is in the 
beginning of this chapter, ' I am God all- sufficient': walk before me and be 
perfect.' By this we may know that God is our God. I need not enlarge 
it. The practice of the first commandment will teach us what is our God. 
Whatsoever we give the supremacy of the inward man to, whatsoever we 
love most, whatsoever we trust most, whatsoever we fear most, whatsoever 
we joy and delight most, whatsoever we obey most — that is our god. ' I 
am the Lord thy God,' in the first commandment. There is the ground. 
What follows ? ' Thou shalt have no other gods but me ;' that is, thou 
shalt love nothing in the world, nor fear nothing, nor trust in nothing, nor 
joy in nothing more than me, no, nor with me ; but all things else thou 
shalt trust them and fear them, &c., in me and for me. Otherwise what is 
our love is our god, what is our trust is our god, what is our greatest fear 
is our god. If we fear man, fear him to do ill, man is our god ; if we love 
the creature, or sin, that is our god; if we crack our consciences for wealth, 
the covetous man's wealth is his god ; if we crack our consciences for 
pleasures, or for our bellies, our pleasures and our bellies and our lusts are 
our god. We make not God our God except we give him the supremacy 
of the inward man. 

But to proceed, and to come to some few familiar signs more that will 
try us, though these may try us, in the intercourse that is between God 
and us. 

Whosoever hath God for their God, they have the S])irU of supplication 
and prayer, to cry unto God, to run unto him, especially in extremity. All 
God's children have the Spirit of adoption to cry, ' Abba, Father !' They 
have the Spirit to give them boldness to God, when otherwise their nature, 
and likewise trouble joining with nature and tentations, would make them 
run from God ; yet the Spirit of God in them makes them bold to go to 
God in Jesus Christ. God's children, that are in covenant with him, can 
at all times pray to God. If they cannot pray, they can ' chatter ' and 
sigh to God. There is somewhat they can do. There is a Spirit in them 
that groaneth and sigheth, as Rom. viii. 26, and God heareth the voice of 
his own Spirit. They are cries in his ears. ' My groans and sighs are 
not hid from thee,' saith the Psalmist, Ps. xxxviii. 9. The Spirit of sup- 
plication will shew God to be our God, because if he were not ours, we 
could not be bold to go to him, in the time of extremity especially. This 
sign you have in Zech. xiii. ver. 9, ' They shall call upon my name, 
and I will hear them ; they shall be my people, and I will be their God.' 
Invocation and prayer is a sign that God is our God, when we go to God 
presently in all our wants and necessities by prayer. Pharaoh and repro- 
bate spirits say to Moses, ' Pray you for me,' Numb. xxi. 7 ; but as for a spirit 
of supplication in themselves, they have not. They may speak of prayer, 
but they cannot pray. Whosoever is God's, he can cry to God. A child, 
we know the first voice is uttered as soon as it is born, it cries ; so God's 
new-born children they can cry unto God. Paul in Acts ix. ver. 11, 
you shall find him praying as soon as ever he was converted ; and certainly 
those that use not to pray morning and evening, and upon all occasions, that 
acq^uaiat not themselves with God, God is not their God. If he were their 


God, tlaey would seek to him, and be acquainted with him. The Spirit 
will teach them to go unto God as to a Father. 

Again, We may know that God is our God by this, hy our separatinf) from 
all others, in ourselves and out of ourselves. There is a separation in our- 
selves, for there is the first separation. God, whose God he is, he giveth 
them his Spirit, and that like fire severeth the dross, and gathereth the fold 
together. And as heat in the body, that severeth good nourishment and 
separateth that which doth not nourish the body, so where the Spirit of God 
is, he works a separation between the flesh and the spirit. The Spirit will 
know what is spiritual, and will discern what is in us that is fleshly, and will 
join to spiritual things, and the Spirit will be one as it were. There will be 
a sweet agreement in the word, in the sacraments, in good company, in 
holy meditation and the like, and a separation from the flesh. A Christian 
knows that he is redeemed from himself, as far as he is naught.* We are 
redeemed from ourselves and our own base nature, as well as from hell and 
damnation. Therefore there is first a separation in ourselves from our- 
selves. It begins there. We have nothing to do with our corruptions. 
We will not own them. 

And where this sweet covenant is, that God is our God, as there is a 
separation from ourselves and our corruptions, so there is a separation 
from all that joineth with our corruption ; a separation in affection from 
delighting in all that is not God, from all such occasions and company as 
streugtheneth our corruption. A Christian knows what he hath of God's 
in him, and what he hath of Satan, and that he must weaken. Therefore 
he severeth himself from that which streugtheneth the one and weakeneth 
the other. This trial is expressed in 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18, ' Come out from 
amongst them, separate yourselves, and I will be your God, and you shall 
be my people.' He speaks for direction, especially in our society and 
acquaintance, for that is the thing he aimeth at. How shall we know that 
God will be our God ? We must separate ourselves, and touch no unclean 
thing, nothing that will help rebellion. Therefore those that have an indif- 
ferent disposition to all companies, and can solace themselves in any society, 
though never so corrupt, that bear themselves plausible to all, and would 
be thought well of all, and so will venture upon all occasions, it is an ill 
sign that they are carnal people. When in the nearest league in friendship 
or amity, or in intimate familiarity, they will join with any, — all are alike, — 
it is a sign they have not God for their God. For then they would have 
common enemies and common friends with God ; common enemies with 
God. AVhom God hated they would hate. As God in covenant blesseth 
them that bless us, and curseth them that curse us, so they that are in 
covenant and friendship with God will hate with a perfect hatred whatsoever 
it is that hateth God ; they will have nothing to do in intimate famiharity 
further than their callings press upon them ; they will give them their due 
in humanity and courtesy, but no more. Their love and delight will be in 
God and those that are his, that represent him, that have his Spirit and 
image. How oft is this * I am the Lord your God ' repeated by Moses as 
a ground of separation from idolatry ? It is expressed almost everywhere ; 
and indeed, if the Lord be our God, there is ground enough of separation 
from all that is not God. It cannot be otherwise. 

Another sign and evidence that God is our God is victory over our base 
corruptions in some measure. This you have in Rev. xxi. 7 : * He that 
overcometh shall inherit all things ; I will be his God, and he shall be my 
* That is, ' nauglity ' = wicked. — G. 


son.' How shall I know that God is my God, and that I am his son ? If 
by the power of his Spirit I am able to overcome and conquer in some com- 
fortable measure base tentations and my base corruptions and lusts ; when 
I lie not as a beast or as a carnal man under sin, but God hath given me 
in some measure spiritual strength over sin. 

Undoubtedly these and such like works of the Spirit, together with the 
testimony of the Spirit, will be wheresoever God is our God. 

In a word, to name no more trials but this, whosoever God is a God to, 
iliere ivill be a transfoiining tmto God, a transforminrj unto Christ, in whom 
God is our God. For we must know that we are renewed according to the 
image of the ' second Adam.' Our comfort is by God revealed in Christ. 
If God be our God in Christ, we will be like to God ; and that will be 
known that we are like to God, if we be like to God in the flesh, God 
incarnate. For we are predestinated to be like God incarnate. God, first 
he is Christ's God before he is ours ; and as Christ carried himself to God, 
so if we be God's, we must carry ourselves like Christ, be transformed 
unto him. How did Christ carry himself to God ? God was his God. 
* My God, my God,' saith Christ upon the cross. Now the gospel sheweth 
that he obeyed his Father in all things, in doing and suffering : * Not my 
will, but thy will be done,' Luke xxii. 42. You know how full of mercy 
and compassion he was ; how he prayed all night sometimes. Though he 
knew God would bestow things on him without prayer, yet he would pray 
in order to God's appointment. You know how full of goodness he was, 
going about continually doing good. Acts x. 38 ; and that in obedience and 
conscience to God's command. In a word, look how Christ made God his 
God, and carried himself to God. So must we ; for we are predestinated 
to be transformed to the image of the ' second Adam,' Christ. Especially 
observe one thing — I touched it before — whom we run to and trust to in 
extremity, is our god. Christ in extremity, when he felt the anger and 
endured the wrath of God, being a surety for our sins, yet ' My God, 
my God ' still. So if we make God our God, chiefly in the greatest 
extremity, in the time of desertion, as Christ did, it is a good sign. I do 
but touch these things. The point, you see, is large. I only give you 
matter of meditation. You may enlarge them yourselves in your own 
thoughts. These I think sufficient trials, whereby you may know whether 
God be your God. 

Having now thus unfolded these terms, let us see what we may draw 
from thence for our use and comfort. 

1. First, then, if by these trials we find that God be not, or have not been, 
our God, alas ! let us never rest till ive make it good that God is our God. 
For what if we have all things, if we have not God with all things ? All 
other things are but streams ; God is the fountain. If we have not the 
spring, what will become of us at last ? Ahithophel had much wit and 
policy, but he had not God for his God. Ahab had power and strength, 
but he had not God for his God. Saul had a kingdom, but he had not 
God for his God. Herod had eloquence, but he had not God for his God. 
Judas was an apostle, a great professor, but he had not God for his God. 
"What became of all these ? Wit* they had, strength they had, honour 
they had, friends they had, but they had not God ; and therefore a miser- 
able end they made. What miserable creatures are all such, when they 
shall say. Friends have forsaken me, wealth hath forsaken me, and health 
hath forsaken me ; terrors lay hold upon me, the wrath of God hath over- 
* That is, ' wisdom.' — G. 


taken me. But they cannot say, God is my God. Oh, such are in a 
miserable case, in a fearful estate indeed. Nay, suppose they have all 
these, suppose they could say they have a world of riches, they have inheri- 
tances, they have friends, &c., jei if they cannot say, God is my God, all 
is vanity. The whole man is this, to have God to "be our God. This is 
the whole man, to fear God and keep his commandment, Eccles. xii. 13. 
If a man have all the world, and have not God for his God, all is but 
vanity and vexation of spirit. Never rest therefore till we can prove our- 
selves to be in the covenant of grace, till we can say, God is my God. 

But, secondly, when we have found God to be our God, then make this 
me of it, a use of resolution. Is God my God ? then I will resolve to 
please him, though all creatures be against me. This was their resolution 
in Micah iv. 5, 'Every nation walketh in the name of his god, but 
we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.' Resolve 
with Joshua and others to please God, whosoever saith the contrary ; to 
walk after the commandments of God, whatsoever others do or say. In 
all discouragements from men or devils, let us set this as a buckler, God 
is my God. Arm ourselves with resolution against all fears and threaten- 
ings of men, of men of terror, against the arm of flesh. They say they 
will do this aud this ; ay, but God is my God. All that they do they 
must do in his strength. Arm ourselves with this against the power and 
gates of hell. Fear not the devil. If we fear man or devil more than 
God, fear them so as to do anything to displease God, we make them god. 
If our conscience rightly tells us that what is to be done by us is the will 
and command of God, and that herein I serve God, we need not fear any 
opposer; but oppose this as an armour of proof against all creatures, 
against all discouragements whatsoever. And certainly experience telleth 
us, and approveth it to be true, that nothing can dismay a man that doth 
things in conscience to God, and knows God will bear him out in it, 
though not from danger in this world ; and yet for the most part he doth 
that too. Those that are the stoutest men for God are oftentimes most 
safe, always freed from inward dejection. Yet God disposeth of it so as 
that he that keeps a good conscience shall always be a king, and rule over 
the world ; and therein he performs his promise. Whatever discourage- 
ments he endureth outwardly, yet no discouragement can cast down that 
soul that looks to God. In his conscience he knows that he takes God to 
be his, that he serveth him, and that it shall go well with him at last, that 
God will be all-sufficient to him ; and this raiseth him above all, makes 
him rule and reign over his enemies, and be a terror to those that do him 

3. Again, If God be our God, then let this stop all base and covetous 
desires after earthhj things. If God be our portion, why should we grapple 
too much after the world then ? What need we crack our consciences and 
break our peace for the muck of the world ? Is not God our portion ? 
Is he not rich enough ? Is not he Lord of heaven and earth ? Hath not 
he promised that he will not fail us nor forsake us ? ' I am thy exceeding 
great reward,' saith God to Abraham. Is not this enough ? What doth 
Satan for us when he getteth us to crack our consciences by gripleness* 
after earthly things ? He promiseth, thou shalt have this and that, but I 
will take God from thee, as he did Adam in paradise. Thou shall have 
an apple, but thou shalt lose thy God. All his solicitations to base and 
earthly courses tend to nothing else but to take God from us. Now, when 
* That is, 'gripingness,' = greed, rapacity.— G. 


God is our God, and he hath promised to be our portion, let it be sufficient 
for us ; let us not, for the displeasing of him, take any condition from Satan 
or the world upon any terms. 

4. Again, If so be we know this for a truth, that God is our God, then 
let it be a use of exhortation to stir us up to keep, and maintain, and cherish 
acquaintance and faviiliarity with him; as it is in Job xxii. 21, 'Acquaint 
thyself with God.' If we be acquainted with him now, he will be ac- 
quainted with us in time of sorrow, in the hour of death ; therefore 
cherish acquaintance with him. Wheresoever we may meet with God, be 
there much ; be much in hearing, in receiving the sacrament, in praying 
to him and making our suits known to him in all our necessities ; be much 
in the society of saints, God hath promised to be there. Therefore cherish 
the society of all that are good. What a friendly course doth God take 
with us ! He seeks for our acquaintance, and therefore giveth us his 
ordinances, the word and sacraments ; sendeth his messengers, the good 
motions of his Spirit, to our hearts, to leave the world and vanities of it; 
to make us out of love with bad courses, and join with him in friendship 
and familiarity. Oh let us make use of these blessed means, check not 
these good motions, but yield unto them and obey them, grieve them not ! 
The Spirit is sent to make God and us friends, who were enemies. Grieve 
not the Spirit, entertain his motions, that we may be acquainted with God. 
But do we do so ? Truly no. Indeed, if God will be our God to save 
us, and let us hve in our swearing and lying and deceiving, and in other 
base courses, we would be content with him upon these terms ; but to be 
our God, so that we must serve him, and love him, and fear him, and joy in 
him above all, and have nothing in the world without his favom-, then let 
him take his favour to himself, we will have none of it. Though men 
speak it not with their mouths to the world, yet the inward speech of their 
hearts is to this purpose. If we must be the people of God upon these 
terms, to renounce our pleasures and profits, let him be a God to whom 
he will for us ! If he will save us, then welcome his favour, we will be 
glad of his acquaintance ; otherwise we will have none of it. What is the 
speech of the world but this ? These men, when they shall at the day of 
judgment claim acquaintance with God, and say, ' Lord, Lord, open to 
us,' ' we have known thee in the streets,' &c., what will God say '? 
' Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, I know you not,' Mat. xxv. 41. 
You were acquainted with me indeed outwardly in the ministry of mj 
word, but you kept not an inward and spiritual familiarity with me in my 
ordinances ; you used not the society of the saints, you entertained not the 
motions of my Spirit, which I sent to you, to leave your ill courses ; I know 
you not. This shall be the answer to such wretched persons. 

5. Lastly, If by these comfortable signs we find God to be our God, then 
here is a spring of comfort opened to a Christian. If God be mine, then all 
that he hath is mine ; he is my Father ; he is my husband ; he is my 
rock ; his goodness, his wisdom, his providence, his mercy, whatsoever he 
hath is mine. If we had any man in the world that had all wisdom in him, 
and all the strength of the world, and all goodness, and all love in him, 
and all this for us, what an excellent creature were this ! God hath all 
this, and a Christian that hath God for his God hath all this and much 
more ; for whatsoever is in the Creator* is much more in him. Hereupon 
cometh all those styles and sweet names that God hath taken upon him in 
the Scripture, because he would have us to know, that all comforts are 

* Qu. ' creature ' ? — Ed. 



together in him. The names of all the creatures that are comfortable, God 
hath been pleased to take upon him, to shew us what a God he is. He is 
water to refresh us, a sun to comfort us, a shield to keep evil from us, a 
rock to support us, chambers to cover us in the time of danger, and such 
like ; and in every creature God hath left footsteps and beams of himself, 
that man, being an understanding creature, might find out God in them. 
In water there is a beam of his refreshing power ; in the sun, a beam of 
his cherishing power, and the like ; and when we receive comfort from the 
creature, which hath but a drop, a beam of his goodness, we should consider 
how good God himself is. If this be so comfortable, what is God that is 
my God ! Here we use the creatures to refresh us, and God deriveth his 
goodness usually to us by them. What will he be to us in heaven, when 
he will be all in all ; and whatsoever comfort God hath, Christ hath ; be- 
cause God and Christ join together for our good. For God is in Christ 
* reconciling the world to himself,' 2 Cor. v. 19; and if God be ours, Christ 
is ours ; and if God and Christ be ours, all things are ours, because all 
things are God's. Angels are ours, cherubins are ours, because God is 
ours. It is a point of wondrous comfort. A poor Christian, when he hath 
nothing to trust to, he may perhaps say sometime, that he hath no friend in 
the world, and he hath many enemies. Ay, but he hath a God to go to. 
If he have not the beam, yet he hath the sun ; if he have not the stream, 
yet he hath the fountain ; if he have not particular benefits that others 
have, yet he hath better. Whatsoever portion he have in the world, he 
hath a rich portion, for God is his portion. 'God is my portion,' saith the 
church in the 3d of Lamentations, ver. 21, 'therefore will I hope in him.' 
The poor church had nothing else in the world to comfort it, for it was in 
captivity, in the midst of enemies, had no wealth, nor friends, nor any- 
thing ; yea, but God is my portion, saith my soul, and therefore God being 
mine, in him I have friends, and wealth, and pleasure, and all whatsoever; 
and so hath every Christian soul, and never more than when the creature 
and the comfort of it is taken away. He never finds God more his God 
than when he is deprived of those means that usually derive comfort to 
him, for then God immediately cometh to the soul and comforteth it ; and 
the disposition of a true Christian is, at those times, to take advantage by 
grace to get nearer to God, to cling faster to him, to solace himself more 
in him as his portion. What a spring of comfort is here arising to a Chris- 
tian in all estates ! If God be his God, then he may claim him upon all 
occasions and at all times, as the saints in the Scripture have done. 
David, Jehosaphat, and all the saints, what do they allege in their prayers 
to God ? ' Thou art our God,' ' we are thy people,' ' the sheep of thy 
pasture,' ' the vine that thy right hand hath planted,' ' the Lord is my 
shepherd,' &c. What made the disciples, when they were ready to be 
drowned, to cry out, ' Master, save us,' but because they knew that they 
were servants in covenant, that he was their Master. We should use this 
as a plea to God in all the calamities of the church. We are thine, thou 
art ours ! Doubtless thou art our God, saith the church, though Abraham 
have forgotten, and Israel be ignorant of us, Isa. Ixiii. 16. It is a point 
of spiritual wisdom, when we know we are in covenant with God, to im 
prove it as an argument to persuade God to help us in any strait. ' I 
am thine : Lord, save me,' saith David, Ps. csix. 94. Thou art my 
God ; Lord, look to me, protect me, direct me, ease me, receive my 
soul. This is a plea that obtaineth anything of God in all extremities 



' I will establish my covenant between me and tbee, and thy seed after 
tbee,' &c. 

I come now to the qualities of tbis co\'enant; and before I speak in par- 
ticular of tbem, I beseecb you observe one thing (which I will but touch, 
to make an entrance to that which follows), from the manner of setting 
down the covenant; it is not here set down as it is in other places of Scrip- 
ture : ' I will be thy God, and thou shalt be my people ; ' but here is only 
the first part, the main of the covenant of grace recited, 'I will be thy God.' 
Why doth he not say, too, Thou shalt take me for thy God? Because where 
the first is, he ever works the second ; our part depends upon his. All our 
grace that we have to answer the covenant, is by reflection from God. He 
chooseth us, and then we choose him. He knoweth us, and therefore we 
come to know him. He loveth us first, and then we love him. He singleth 
us out to be a peculiar people, and we single out him above all things to 
be our portion. ' "Whom have I in heaven but thee ? ' Ps. Ixiii. 25. 

It is therefore — to come to the first quality — called a free covenant. ^ It 
cometh from God merely of grace. It is of grace that he would enter into 
any terms of agreement with us. It is of grace that he would send Christ 
to die to be the foundation of the covenant. It is of grace that he giveth 
us hearts to take him for our God, to depend upon him, to love him, to 
serve him, &c. All is of grace, and all cometh from him. 

So you see that it is a free covenant. That is the first quality. 
Again, secondly, it is a sure, a certain covenant. I will establish my 
covenant. But in whom is it established ? how cometh it to be sure ? 
It is established in Christ, the mediator of the covenant, in the Messiah ; 
for ' in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,' Gen. xii. 3. 
That is the fundamental promise. All other promises, the promise of the 
land of Canaan, the promise of the multiplying his seed as the stars of 
heaven, they were all but accessary. This is the grand promise :. in thy 
seed, in Christ, shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. So it is a 
sure covenant, because it is established in the Messiah, Christ, God-man. 
And Christ being God and man, is fit to be the foundation of the covenant 
between God and man, for he is a friend to both parties. As man he will 
do aU that is helpful for man ; and as God, he wiU do nothing that may 
derogate from God ; and so being God, and being God and man, he brings 
God and man together comfortably and sweetly, and keepeth them together 
in a sure and firm agreement. For first of all, he takes away the cause of 
division that was between God and us, because by his sacrifice and obedi- 
ence he did satisfy God's wrath ; and that being satisfied, God and us are 
at peace and friendship; for God till then, though he be a fountain of 
goodness, yet he was a fountain sealed. The fountain was stopped by sin; 
but when there is a satisfaction made by Christ, and we beheving on him, 
the satisfaction of Christ is made ours. It is a sure covenant, because it 
is established in Christ the blessed seed. 

And as it is a sure covenant, so, thirdly, it is an everlasting covenant. 
' I will make an everlasting covenant with thee.' So it is set down here. 

Everlasting in these respects. For when we are in Christ, and made 
one with him by faith, he having satisfied God's wrath for us, and made 
him peaceable, then God is become our father, and he is an everlasting 
father. His love to us in Christ is like himself, immutable. For even as 
Christ, when he took upon him our nature, he made an everlasting covenant 
with our nature, married our nature to himself for ever, and never layeth 
aside his human nature, so he will never lay aside his mystical body, hia 


church. As Christ is God-man for ever, so mystical Christ, the church, 
is his body for ever. As Christ will not lose his natural, so he will not lose 
his mystical body. * I will marry thee to myself for ever,' saith God in 
the prophet. So then it is everlasting in respect of God, he being immu- 
table. ' I am God,' saith he, ' and I change not,' Mai. iii. 6 ; and Christ, 
the foundation of the covenant, is everlasting. 

And then again it is everlasting in regard of us ; because if we be not 
wanting to ourselves, we shall be for evermore, in grace here and in glory 
for ever. The fruits of grace in us — that is, the work of the Spirit — it is 
everlasting ; for howsoever the graces we have be but the first-fruits of the 
Spirit, yet our inward man grows more and more, till grace end in glory, 
till the first-fruits end in a harvest, till the foundation be accomplished 
in the building ; God never takes away his hand from his own work. 

Everlasting also in regard of the body of Christians. God makes a 
covenant with one, and when they are gone, with others. Always God 
will have some in covenant with him. He will have some, to be a God to, 
when we are gone, so long as the world continueth. 

So that we see it is in every respect an everlasting covenant, God is 
everlasting, Christ is everlasting, the graces of the Spirit are everlasting. 
When we are dead, he will be a God unto us, as it is said, ' I am the God 
of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob,' their God when they were dead. He 
is the God of our dust, of our dead bodies. He will raise them up, for 
they are bodies in covenant with him. I am the God of whole Abraham, 
and not of a piece ; therefore his body shall rise again. It is an everlast- 
ing covenant. That is the third quality. 

Lastly, It is a peculiar covenant. ' I will be tJuj God, and the God of 
thy seed. All are not the children of Abraham, but they that are of the 
faith of Abraham. God is in covenant only with those that answer him, 
that take him for their God, that are a peculiar people. It is not glorying 
in tbe flesh ; but there must be somewhat wrought that is peculiar before 
we can be assured we are of Abraham's seed, and in covenant with God. 

And we may know that we are God's peculiar by some peculiar thing 
that we can do. What peculiar thing canst thou do ? To speak a little of 
that by the way. Thou lovest and art kind ; but, saith Christ, what 
pecuHar thing canst thou do ? A heathen man may be kind and loving, 
but canst thou overcome revenge ? Canst thou spare and do good to thine 
enemies ? Canst thou trust in God when all means fail ? What is the 
power of the Spirit in thee ? Doth it triumph in thee over thy natural 
con-uption ? Canst thou do as Abraham did ? He left all at God's com- 
mand ; canst thou do that if need should be ? Canst thou leave children, 
and wife, and life, and all at God's command ? Canst thou sacrifice Isaac 
as he did ? Canst thou more trust in the promise of God than in the 
dearest thing in the world, yea, than in thy own feeling of grace ? What- 
soever is not God, canst thou be content to be without '? Canst thou rely 
upon God when he appeared* to be an angry God ? Abraham knew that 
there was more comfort in the promise than in Isaac. If thou have com- 
fort in the promise more than in anything else, then thou art one of 
Abraham's seed, thou hast sacrificed thy Isaac. Never talk of Abraham 
else ; never think that thy portion is great in God, be what thou wilt by 
profession, if there be no particular thing in thee which is not in a natural 
man. If thou art covetous, as gripplef for the world, as very a drudge in 
thy calling, as licentious in thy course as carnal men are, thou art none of 
* Qu. ' appearetli ' ? — Ed. f That is, ' greedy, rapacious.' — G. 


God's peculiar ones, thou art none of Abraham's seed. God's people have 
somewhat peculiar that the world hath not. It is a peculiar covenant. 

Thus you see the quahties of this covenant. It is a free covenant ; a sure 
covenant, established in the blessed seed, the Messiah ; it is an everlasting 
covenant ; and it is a peculiar covenant. 

To make some use of this, in a word. 

Hei'e, then, you see is another spring of blessed comfort opened to a Christian. 
If he findeth God, though his assurance be little, to be his God in regard of 
peculiar favours, let him remember it is an everlasting favour. His love is 
everlasting. The foundation is everlasting ; the graces of the Spirit are an 
everlasting spring, always issuing from Christ our head. Grace is never 
drawn dry in him. God is our God to death, in death, and for ever. All 
things in the world will fail us : friends will fail us ; all comforts will fail 
us ; hfe will fail us ere long ; but this is an everlasting covenant, which will 
not fail. 

It is a point of comfort in the loss of friends, in the loss of estate in 
this world. If I lose friends, yet I cannot lose God ; if he be mine, he is 
mine for ever ; a friend now, and a friend ever ; my portion now, and my 
portion for ever. Whatsoever God takes away, he never takes away him- 
self ; and in him I have all that is taken away. All the comfort that he 
doth still derive* to me by friends, he resumeth to himself. It is not 
perished with the party.f He can immediately, by himself, convey what- 
soever comfort was derived to me by others. He is God all-sufficient ; that 
is, put the case all the world were taken away ; not only friends, but the 
sun, the light, the earth, food and raiment, all, as it shall be at the day of 
judgment ; if all be taken away, yet I have him ; yet I have him that made 
all, that supporteth all. Cannot he do all in a more excellent manner ? 
Is not he all-sufficient, though I lose all things else ? It is a point of 
wondrous comfort. God knew it Avell enough. Therefore he laboureth to 
estabhsh the heart of the father of the faithful, good Abraham, here, with 
this instead of all, ' I am God all-sufficient, and I will be thy God.' 

Again, If this be so, that God will be a God to us for ever, let us comfort 
ourselves hence in all the unfaithful dealings of men. They are friends 
to-day and enemies to-moi'row ; but God is my God ; and whom he loveth 
he loveth to the end, John xiii. 1. An ingenuous spirit certainly esteemeth 
it the greatest cross in the world ; and if anything will whet a man to 
heaven, this is one, that those whom he trusteth will prove false, and at 
length deceive him. Man is but man ; in the balance he is lighter than 
vanity ; but he that is in covenant with God, his promise, and love, and 
faithfulness never faileth. A Christian in all the breaches of this world 
hath this comfort, that he hath a sure God to trust to. He that hath not 
God to trust to, and is unfaithfully dealt withal in the world, what a 
wretched man is he ! This was David's comfort. When he was beset 
with calamities and miseries, all took from him, and the people were ready 
to stone him, he trusted in the Lord his God. I come to the extent of it. 

* To thee and to thy seed after thee.' 

Why doth he make the covenant with his seed as well as with himself? 

I answer. We apprehend favours and curses more in our seed ofttimes than 
in ourselves ; and it will humble a man to see calamities on his posterity, 
more than on himself ; and a man more rejoiceth to see the flourishing of 
his seed than of himself. It is said that Josiah did die in peace, though 
he died a bloody death, because he saw not the ruin of his house and 
* That is, ' communicate.'— G. t Cf. Vol. III. page 9.— G. 



family, whicli was worse than death. God saw how Abraham apprehended 
and valued seed, when he said, ' What wilt thou give me, since I am child- 
less ? ' Gen. XV. 2. Therefore God, intending a comfortable enlargement 
of the covenant of grace to Abraham, extends it to his seed : ' I will be the 
God of thy seed.' It is a great blessing for God to be the God of our 
seed. It is alluded to by St Peter in the New Testament, * The promise is 
made to you and to your children,' Acts ii. 39. 

But what if they have not baptism, the seal of the covenant ? 
» That doth not prejudice their salvation. God hath appointed the sacra- 
ments to be seals for us, not for himself. He himself keepeth his covenant, 
whether we have the seal or no, so long as we neglect it not. Therefore 
we must not think if a child die before the sacrament of baptism, that God 
will not keep his covenant. They have the sanctity, the holiness of the 
covenant. You know what David said of his child, ' I shall go to it, but 
it shall not return to me ;' and yet it died before it was circumcised. You 
know they were forty years in the wilderness, and were not circumcised. 
Therefore the sacrament is not of absolute necessity to salvation. So he 
is the God of our children from the conception and birth. 

But how can God be the God of our children, when they are born in 
corruption, children of wrath ? Can they be the children of wrath and the 
children of God both at one time ? 

I answer. Yes ; both at one time. For even as in civil matters, in our 
city here, a man may be a freeman of the city, and yet be born lame or 
leprous, or with some contagious disease — this hindereth not his freedom — 
so the children of a believing father and mother may be freemen of the city 
of God, and in the covenant of grace, and yet be tainted with original sin, 
that overspreadeth the powers of the soul notwithstanding. 

Whence we see a ground of baptizing infants, because they are in the 
covenant. To whom the covenant belongs, the seal of it belongs ; but to 
infants the covenant belongs ; therefore the seal of it, baptism, belongeth 
to them. If circumcision belonged to them, then baptism doth ; but cir- 
cumcision belonged to them, for the eighth day they were circumcised ; 
therefore baptism belongeth to them. 

Anabaptistical spirits would not have children baptized if they beheve 
not. Why then were the children of the Jews circumcised ? They were 
circumcised because they were in covenant ; and is not the covenant of 
grace enlarged ? Wherein doth the new covenant differ from the old, but, 
among many other things, in the enlargement of it ? There is now a new 
people, the Gentiles, in covenant, that were not before, new priests, new 
sacrifices, new sacraments. All is new in the covenant of grace. If all be 
enlarged in the covenant, why should we deny the seal of the covenant to 
them in ^ the new that had it in the old, even children ? It is senseless. 
The Scripture, to meet with such, applieth baptism to them and circum- 
cision to us, to shew that in the covenant of grace they are all one in effect : 
1 Cor. X. 2, ' All they were baptized under the cloud ;' and St Paul saith, 
Col. ii. 11, ' We are circumcised with circumcision without hands.' We 
are circumcised, and they were baptized ; to shew, I say, that all are one 
in Christ. Christ is all one, ' yesterday, to-day, and the same for ever,' 
Heb. xiii. 8 : ' yesterday,' to them that were under the law ; ' and to-day,' 
to us under the gospel; and 'for ever 'to posterity. And therefore, if 
children had interest in Christ then, so they have now. This is clear and 
undeniable : God is the God of our children. 

This should be an encouragement to parents to be good, if not for love 


of themselves and their own souls, yet for their children and posterity's sake, 
that God may do good to their children for them. They cannot deserve 
worse of their children than to be naught* themselves. 

How many examples are there in Scripture that God plagued and 
punished the childi-en for the fathers' sins ! Though in the main matter 
he will not do it sometimes, because he is gracious and good ; he will be 
good to the children, though their parents be naught,* as Joshua and Caleb 
came into Canaan, though their parents were rebels, and died in the wilder- 
ness. Yet it is a discomfortable thing. When parents are naught,* they 
may look that God should punish their sin in their children. 

There is a great deal of care taken by carnal parents here in the city 
(and everywhere too, but in the city especially) by covetousness, a reign- 
ing sin; they will not make God their God, but the wedge of gold 
to be their god. They labour to make their children great. If they 
can leave them rich men, great men in a parish, to bear office, to come to 
honour, that is their main endeavour ; for this they drudge, and neglect 
heaven and happiness. But, alas ! what is this ? Thou mayest leave 
them much goods, and the vengeance of God with them ; thou mayest 
leave them much wealth, and it may be a snare to them. It were better 
thou hadst left them nothing. 

Look into the state of the city. Those that are best able in the city, 
do they not rise of nothing ? And they that have been the greatest 
labourers for these outward things, that they may call their lands after 
their own names, Ps. xlix 11, God hath blown upon them, and all hath 
come to nought in a short time, because they have not made God their 
portion. Of all things, parents should labour to leave them God for their 
God, to leave them in covenant with him ; lay up prayers in heaven for 
them, lay the foundation there ; sow prayers there, that they may be 
effectual for them when you are gone. 

And this^likewise should be a comfort to poor Christians, that have not 
much to leave their children. I can leave my child nothing, but I shall 
leave him in covenant with God ; for God is my God, and always hath 
been, and ever will be ; he will be the God of my seed. I shall leave him 
God's blessing ; and a little well gotten goods that the righteous hath is 
better than a great deal ill gotten. God addeth no sorrow with that. 
There is no ' fearful expectation ' another day, as there is of that which is 
ill gotten ; when the father and child shall meet in hell, and curse one 
another ; when the son shall say to the father, You ensnared yourself to 
make me happy, and that turned to my ruin. This shall make wicked 
wretches curse one another one day. A poor Christian that cannot say he 
hath riches to leave his children, yet he can say, God is my God, and I 
am sure he will be their God ; though I have but little to leave them else, 
I shall leave them God's blessing. Good parents may hope for a blessing 
upon their children, because God is their God, and the God of their seed. 

For the sacrament, a word. 

The sacrament is a seal of this covenant, that God is our God in Christ, 
and we are his people. God to his word addeth seals, to help our faith. 
What a good God is this ! how willing is he to have us believe him ! One 
would think that a word from him, a promise, were enough ; but to 
his promise he addeth a covenant. One would think a covenant were 
enough, but to that he addeth seals, and to them an oath too : 'I have 
Bworn to David my servant,' Ps. Ixxxix. 3. Thus he stoops to all condi- 
* That is, ' naughty,' = wicked. — G. 



tions of men ; he condescendeth so far to use all these means that he may 
secure us. You know that a promise secures us, if it be from one that is 
an honest man. We say that we are sure to have it because of his pro- 
mise ; but when we have his covenant, then we are assured more, because 
there is somewhat drawn. Now, we have God's covenant and his seal, 
the sacrament ; and then his oath. If we will take him for our God, and 
renounce our wicked courses, we shall lose nothing by it ; we shall part 
with nothing for God but we shall have it supplied in him. If we lose 
honour, wealth, or pleasure, we shall have it abundantly in him. 

What do we hear in the sacrament ? Do we come only to receive his 
love to us ? No ; we make a covenant with God in the sacrament that he 
shall be our God, and we promise by his grace to lead new lives henceforth. 
We have made a covenant with God at first in baptism, now we renew it 
in taking the sacrament ; and it is fit, for if he renew his covenant oft to 
us in love to be ours, we should renew ours oft with him, to take him to 
be our God. Seven times in Genesis he renewed his covenant to Abra- 
ham, because he would have him trust what he said.* Then we should 
seven times, that is, oft, come to the sacrament, and renew our covenant 
with him, to take him for our God ; and remember what it is to sin after 
the receiving the sacrament. Sins against conscience break off a covenant 
renewed. Sin hath an aggravation now. You that mean to receive, if 
you sin willingly after, it were better you had not received. What makes 
adultery worse than fornication ? Saith Malachi, ' It was the wife of thy 
covenant,' ii. 14. Adultery breaks the covenant of marriage. It is worse 
than fornication, where there is not a covenant. So you have made a 
covenant with God in your baptism, and now you come to renew it. If 
you sin now, it is an aggravation of the sin. It is adultery, it is disloyalty 
against God. 

Eemember, therefore, that we do not only take here God's kindness 
sealed in the sacrament, but we re-promise back again to lead new lives. 
All must resolve by his grace to obey him henceforward, and to take him for 
our God. The way, therefore, will be to put this into the condition of your 
promise now, and prayer after. Lord, I have promised this ; but thou 
knowest I cannot perform the promise I have made, and the condition thou 
requirest, of myself. But in the covenant of grace, thou hast said that 
thou wilt make good the condition. Thou hast promised to give the ' Spirit 
to them that ask him,' Luke xi. 13; thou hast promised to 'circumcise my 
heart,' Col. ii. 11 ; thou hast promised to 'teach me,' Ps. xxxii. 8; thou 
hast promised to delight over me for good ; thou hast promised to ' wash 
me with clean water,' Ezek. xxxvi. 25 ; thou hast promised to put thy fear 
in my heart,' Jer. xxxii. 40 ; thou hast promised ' to write thy law in the 
afi'ections,' Jer. xxxi. 33. I would fear thee, and love thee, and trust in 
thee, and delight in thee; thou knowest I cannot fulfil the conditions. 
Thou art able and wiUing ; thou art as able to make me do these things as 
to command me to do them. 

Thus we should desire God to give the grace that he requires in the use 
of the means ; for that must not be neglected. We must attend upon the 
ordinances ; use the parts that are given us ; and in that, ' to him that hath 
shall be given,' Mat. xiii. 12. Thou shalt not need any necessary good to 
bring thee to heaven, if thou wilt claim the promise of the covenant in the 
use of means. We shall want degrees perhaps ; but in the covenant of 
grace, it is not degrees that brings us to heaven, but truth. 
* Cf. Vol. V. p. 63.-G. 


Now, in our renewing the covenant with God, let ns not despair of his 
performance ; let not that hinder us from coming to the sacrament, but 
come cheerfully, and know that he that hath made the covenant with thee 
to be thy God, and to give thee all particular grace, in the use of all good 
means, will perform it. He will perform it if we come m sincerity of 
heart. If we come to 'daub'-.= with God, and after to follow our sintul 
courses, this is to mock God. This made David take it to heart so much, 
that ' his familiar friend, that ate at his table, lift up his heel against me, 
Ps. xli. 9. May not God complain of us, that we come to the com- 
munion, to his table, with false, Judas hearts, and afterwards betray him ? 
He may say. My famihar friends they came and ate with me, yet they have 
lift up the heel against me ; they are rebellious ; they will leave no sm that 
before they were enthralled to. So, instead of a blessing, we bring a curse 
upon us, a just reward of our disloyalty. Oh remember that it is a great 
aggravation of sin after the sacrament. 

I speak not this to discourage any, but to encourage us rather, it we 
come with sincere hearts, and with resolution to please God, we may look 
for all the promises from God. All that he hath promised he is ready to 
perform, if we in faith can allege the promise, ' Lord, remember thy pro- 
mise, wherein thou hast caused thy servant to put his trust !' Ps. cxis. 4y. 

* Cf. Ezek, xiii. 10-14, and xxii. 28.— G. 




' Josiah's Eeformation' forms Nos. 8, 9, 10, 11 of the first edition of ' The Saint's 
Cordials'— 1629 ; and in the second and third— 1637 and 1658— Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4. 
Cf. Notes, Vol, IV. page 60, and Vol. V. page 176. For account of a manuscript 
eopy of these delightful sermons, in my possession, see Bibliographical List of 
Editions in Volume VII. The title-page of ' Josiah's Eeformation,' in the edition 
of 1637, which is our test, is given below.* G. 

Laid open in foure Sermons. 
f 1. The Tender Heart. 
) 2. The Art of Selfe-Humbling. 

VIZ. { 

) 3. The Art op Mourning 

( 4. The Saints Refreshing. 



Soule in this great worke of Reformation : and how the 

stout heart may so be brought low, as to be made humble, 

melting, and compassionately mournfull : even to 

the comfort of a sweet Assurance. 

[Wood-cut here, as described. Vol. IV. p. 60. See also Memoir, p. cxxiv.] 

By R. SiBBS D. D. Master of Katherine Hall in Cambridge, 
and preacher of Grayes Inn London. 

The second Edition. 

EsAY 57. 15. 

For thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhahUeth Eternity, whose Name is Holy ; 1 
dwell in the hiyh and holy Place : with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to re- 
vive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. 


Printed for R. Davvlman, at the brazen Serpent in 
Pauls Churchyard. 16 3 7. 



And as for the king of Jiidah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, so shall 
ye say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel concerning the uords 
which thou hast heard, Because thine heart was tender, dc. — 2 Cheon. 
XXXIV. 26. 

These words are a part of the message which the prophetess Huldah sent 
to good King Josiah ; for as the message was concerning him and his 
people, so his answer from her is exact, both for himself and them. That 
part which concerned his people is set down in the three foregoing verses ; 
that which belongs unto himself is contained in the words now read unto 
you, ' But to the king of Judah,' &c. The preface to her message we see 
strengthened with authority from God, * Thus saith the Lord God of 
Israel ;' which words carry in them the greater force and power from the 
majesty of the author. For if words spoken from a king carry authority, 
how much more then the word of the Lord of hosts, the King of kings ? 
Here is her wisdom, therefore, that she lays aside her own authority, and 
speaks in the name of the Lord. 

We see that waters of the same colour have not the same nature and 
effect, for hot waters are of the same colour with plain ordinary waters, 
yet more effectual ; so the words of a man coming from 'a man may seem 
at first to be the same with others, yet notwithstanding, the words of 
God coming from the Spirit of God, carry a more wonderful excellency in 
them even to the hearts of kings. They bind kings, though they labour to 
shake them off. They are arrows to pierce their hearts ; if not to save 
them, yet to damn them. Therefore she speaks to the king, ' Thus saith 
the Lord God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard,' &e. 

Here we read of Josiah, that he was a man of an upright heart, and one 
who did that which was right in the sight of the Lord ; and answerably we 
find the Lord to^ deal with him. For he, desirous to know the issue of a 
fearful judgment threatened against him and his people, sendeth to Huldah, 
a prophetess of the Lord, to be certified therein ; whereupon he receiveth 
a full and perfect answer of the Lord's determination, both touching himself 
and his people, that they being forewarned might be forearmed ; and by 
their timely conversion to the Lord, might procure the aversion* of so 
• That is, ' turning awaj.' — Q. 


heavy wrath. He in uprightness sends to inquire, and the Lord returns 
him a full and upright answer. Whence we may learn, 

Doct. 1. That God doth graciously Jit 2'>roj)hets for j^ersons, andJiis word, to 
a people that are upright in their hearts. Where there is a true desire to 
know the will of God, there Grod will give men sincere prophets that shall 
answer them exactly ; not according to their own lusts, but for their good, 
Josiah was an holy man, who, out of a gracious disposition, desirous to be 
informed from God what should become of him and his people, sends to 
the prophetess Huldah. It was God's mercy that he should have a Hul- 
dah, a Jeremiah, to send to ; and it was God's mercy that they should deal 
faithfully with him. This is God's mercy to those that are true-hearted. 
He will give them teachers suitable to their desires ; but those that are 
false-hearted shall have suitable teachers, who shall instruct them according 
to their lusts. If they be like Ahab, they shall have four hundred false 
prophets to teach falsehood, to please their lusts, 1 Kings xxii. 6 ; but if 
they be Davids, they shall have Nathans. If they be Josiahs, they shall 
have Huldahs and Jeremiahs. Indeed, Herod may have a John Baptist, 
Mark vi. 27 ; but what will he do with him in the end when he doth 
come to cross him in his sin ? Then off goes his head. 

Use. This should teach us to labour for sincerity, to have our hearts up- 
right toivards God ; and then he will send us men of a direct and right spirit, 
that shall teach us according to his own heart. But if we be false-hearted, 
God will give us teachers that shall teach us, not according to his will, but 
to please our own. We shall light upon belly-gods and epicures, and shall 
fall into the hands of priests and Jesuits. Where such are, there are the 
judgments of God upon the people, because they do not desire to know the 
will of God in truth. We see, Ezek. xiv. 3, 4, the people desired to have 
a stumblingblock for their iniquity. They were naught,* and would have 
idols. Therefore they desired stumblingblocks. They would have false 
prophets, that so they might go to hell with some authority. Well, saith 
God, they shall have stumblingblocks : for thus saith the Lord God of 
Israel, * To every man that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the 
stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet 
to inquire ; I the Lord will answer him that cometh, according to the mul- 
titude of his idols ; according to his own false heart, and not according to 
good.' What brought the greatest judgment upon the world, next to hell 
itself, I mean antichrist — the terriblest judgment of all, that hath drawn so 
many souls to hell — but the wickedness of the place and people, and his 
own ambition ? The sins of the people gave life to him. They could not 
endure the word of God or plain dealing ; they thought it a simple thing. 
They must have more sacrifices, more ceremonies, and a more glorious 
government. They would not be content with Christ's government which 
he left them, but were weary of this. Therefore he being gone to heaven, 
they must have a pope to go before them and lead them to hell. There- 
fore let men never excuse those sins, for certainly God saw a great deal of 
evil in them, and therefore gave them up to the judgment of antichrist. 
But let us magnify God's mercies that hath not so given us up. Thus we 
see how graciously God deals with a true-hearted king : he sends him a 
true answer of his message. 

Ver. 27, * Because thine heart was tender,' &c. 

Now here comes a comfortable message to good Josiah, that he should 
* That is, ' naughty,' wicked. — G. 


be taken away and not see the miseries that should befall his people ; the 
cause whereof is here set down, ' Because thy heart was tender, and thou 
didst humble thyself before God ;' which cause is double. 

1. Inioard. 2. Outward. 

1. The inward is the tenderness of his heart and humbling of himself. 
2. And then the outward expression of it is set down in a double act : 

(1.) Rending of clothes. (2,) Weeping. 

' Because thou hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me.' After which 
comes the promise, ' I have also heard thee,' saith the Lord ; ' behold, I 
will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be put in thy grave in peace, 
and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place, 
and upon the inhabitants of the same.' 

I will first remove one doubt, before I come to the tenderness of Josiah's 

Quest. What ! may some say, Is there anything in man that can cause 
God to do do him good ? 

A71S. No. One thing is the cause of another, but all come from the first 
cause. So tenderness of heart vaa,j be some cause of removal of judgment; 
but God is the cause of both, for they all come from the first cause, 
which is God. So that these words do rather contain an order than a 
cause. For God hath set down this order in things, that where there is a 
broken heart there shall be a freedom from judgment ; not that tenderness 
of heart deserves anything at God's hand, as the papists gather, but because 
God hath decreed it so, that where tenderness of heart is, there mercy shall 
follow ; as here there was a tender heart in Josiah, therefore mercy did 
follow. God's promises are made conditionally ; not that the condition on 
our part deserves anything at God's hand, but when God hath given the 
condition, he gives the thing promised. So that this is an order which God 
hath set down, that where there is grace, mercy shall follow. For where 
God intends to do any good, he first works in them a gracious disposition : 
after which he looks upon his own work as upon a lovely object, and so 
doth give them other blessings. God crowns gi'ace with grace. 

By * heart' is not meant the inward material and fleshy part of the body; 
but that spiritual part, the soul and afiections thereof. In that it is said 
to be ' tender ' or melting, it is a borrowed and metaphorical phrase. Now 
in a ' tender heart' these three properties concur : 

1. It is sensible. 2. It is pliable. 3. It is yielding. 

1. First, A tender heart is always a sensible"^' heart. It hath life, and 
therefore sense. There is no living creature but hath life, and sense to 
preserve that life. So a tender heart is sensible of any grievance ; for 
tenderness doth presuppose life, because nothing that hath not life is 
tender. Some senses are not altogether necessary for the being of a living 
creature, as hearing and seeing ; but sensibleness is needful to the being of 
every living creature. It is a sign of life in a Christian when he is sensible 
of inconveniences. Therefore God hath planted such affections in man, as 
may preserve the life of man, as fear and love. Fear is that which makes 
a man avoid many dangers. Therefore God hath given us fear to cause us 
make our peace with him in time, that we may be freed from inconveniences ; 
yea, from that greatest of inconveniences, hell fire. 

2, 3. Again, A tender heart is 2jliable and yielding. Now that is said 
to be yielding and pliable, which yields to the touch of anything that is put 
to it, and doth not stand out, as a stone that rebounds back when it is 

* That is, ' sensitive.' — G. 


thrown against a wall. So that is said to be tender which hath life, and 
sense, and is pUable, as wax is yielding and pliable to the disposition of 
him that works it, and is apt to receive any impression that is applied to it. 
In a tender heart there is no resistance, but it yields presently to every 
truth, and hath a pliableness and a fitness to receive any impression, and 
to execute any performance ; a fit temper indeed for a heart wrought on 
by the Spirit. God must first make us fit, and then use us to work. As 
a wheel must first be made round, and then turned round, so the heart 
must be first altered, and then used in a renewed way. A tender heart, so 
soon as the word is spoken, yields to it. It quakes at threatenings, obeys 
precepts, melts at promises, and the promises sweeten the heart. In all 
duties concerning God, and all offices of love to men, a tender heart is thus 
qualified. But hardness of heart is quite opposite. For, as things dead 
and insensible, it will not yield to the touch, but returns back whatsoever 
is cast upon it. Such a heart may be broken in pieces, but it will not 
receive any impression ; as a stone may be broken, but will not be pliable, 
but rebound back again. A hard heart is indeed like wax to the devil, but 
like a stone to God or goodness. It is not yielding, but resists and repels 
all that is good ; and therefore compared in the Scripture to the adamant 
stone. Sometimes it is called a frozen heart, because it is unpliable to 
anything. You may break it in pieces, but it is unframeable for any ser- 
vice, for any impression ; it will not be wrought upon. But on the con- 
trary, a melting and tender heart is sensible, yielding, and fit for any service 
both to God and man. Thus we see plainly what a tender heart is. The 
point from hence is, 

Doct. 2. That it is a supernatural disposition of a true child of God to have 
a tender, soft, and a melting heart. I say that a disposition of a true child 
of God, and the frame of soul of such an one, to be tender, apprehensive, 
and serviceable, is a supernatural disposition ; and of necessity it must be 
so, because naturally the heart is of another temper — a stony heart. AU 
by nature have stony hearts in respect of spiritual goodness. There may 
be a tenderness in regard of natural things ; but in regard of grace, the 
heart is stony, and beats back all that is put to it. Say what you will to 
a hard heart, it will never yield. A hammer will do no good to a stone. 
It may break it in pieces, but not draw it to any form. So to a stony 
heart, all the threatenings in the woi'ld will do no good. You may break it 
in pieces, but never work upon it. It must be the almighty power of God. 
There is nothing in the world so hard as the heart of man. The very 
creatures will yield obedience to God ; as flies, and lice, to destroy Pharaoh ; 
but Pharaoh himself was so hard-hearted, that after ten plagues he was 
ten times the more hardened, Exod. x. 28. Therefore, if a man have not 
a melting heart, he is diverted from his proper object ; because God hath 
placed affections in us, to be raised presently upon suitable objects. When 
any object is offered in the word of God, if our hearts were not corrupted, 
we would have correspondent affections. At judgments we would tremble, 
at the word of threatenings quake, at promises we would with faith beheve, 
and at mercies be comforted ; at directions we would be pliable and yield- 
ing. But by nature our hearts are hard. God may threaten, and promise, 
and direct, and yet we insensible all the while. Well, all Josiahs, and 
all that are gracious, of necessity must have soft hearts. Therefore I will 
shew you, 

1. How a tender heart is wrought. 

2. How it may be preserved and maintained. 



3. How it may he discerned from the contrary. 

1. First, A tender heart is made tender hy him that made it. For no 
creature in the world can soften and turn the heart, only God must alter 
and change it ; for we are all by nature earthly, dead, and hard. Hence is 
it that God doth make that gracious promise, Ezek. xi. 19, ' I will give them 
one heart, and put a new spirit within their bowels ; and I will take away 
the stony hearts out of their bodies, and give them a heart of flesh ;' that is, 
a living, sensible heart. 

Quest. But doth God immediately make the heart tender, and change it, 
without any help by means ? 

Sol. 1. I answer. Means do not make the heart tender, but God through 
the use of means softens it by his word. God's word is a hammer to break, 
and as fire to melt the hardened heart, Jer. sxiii. 9. And thus it works, 
first, when God doth shew to the heart our cursed estate, and opens to 
the same the true dangers of the soul, which it is in by nature and custom 
of sin, and sets before it the terrors of the last day and present danger of 
judgment. When the Spirit of God, by the word, doth convince the soul 
to be in a damned estate, dead, born under wrath, and an heir of damna- 
tion ; that by nature God frowns, and hell is ready to swallow us up ; 
when the soul is thus convinced, then the heart begins to be astonished, 
and cries out, * Men and brethren, what shall I do?'_Aets ii. 37. When 
the word is thus preached with particular application, it doth good. For a 
man may hear the word of God generally, and yet have no broken heart. 
But when a Peter comes and saith, * You have crucified the Lord of ^life ;' 
and when a Nathan comes to David, and saith, ' Thou art the man,' then 
comes the heart to be broken and confounded. 

But it is not enough to have the heart broken ; for a pot may be broken 
in pieces, and yet be good for nothing ; so may a heart be, through terrors, 
and sense of judgment, and yet not be like wax, pliable. Therefore it must 
be melting ;- for which cause, when God by his judgments hath cast down 
the heart, then comes the Spirit of God, revealing the comfort of the word ; 
then the gracious mercy of God in Christ is manifested, that ' there is 
mercy with God, that he may be feared,' Ps. cxxx. 4. This being laid open 
to the quick, to a dejected soul, hence it comes to be melted and tender ; 
for the apprehension of judgment is only a preparing work, which doth break 
the heart, and prepare it for tenderness. 

Sol. 2. Again, Tenderness of heart is wrought by an apprehension of 
tenderness and love in Christ. A soft heart is made soft by the blood of 
Christ. Many say, that an adamant cannot be melted with fire, but 
by blood. I cannot tell whether this be true or no ; but I am sure nothing 
will melt the hard heart of man but the blood of Christ, the passion of our 
blessed Saviour. When a man considers of the love that God hath shewed 
him in sending of his Son, and doing such great things as he hath done, in 
giving of Christ to satisfy his justice, in setting us free from hell, Satan 
and death : the consideration of this, with the persuasion that we have 
interest in the same, melts the heart, and makes it become tender. And 
this must needs be so, because that with the preaching of the gospel unto 
broken-hearted sinners cast down, there always goes the Spirit of God, 
which works an application of the gospel. 

Christ is the first gift to the Church. When God hath given Christ, 
then comes the Spirit, and works in the heart a gracious acceptance of 
mercy ofiered. The Spirit works an assurance of the love and mercy of 
* Qu. ' melted '?— Ed. 
YOli. VI. C 


God, Now love and mercy felt, work upon the tender heart a reflective 
love to God again. What, hath the great God of heaven and earth sent 
Christ into the world for me ? humbled himself to the death of the cross 
for me ? and hath he let angels alone, and left many thousands in the 
world, to choose me ? and hath he sent his ministers to reveal unto me 
this assurance of the love and mercy of God ? This consideration cannot 
but work love to God again ; for love is a kind of fire which melts the 
heart. So that when our souls are persuaded that God loves us from ever- 
lasting, then we reflect our love to him again ; and then our heart says to 
God, ' Speak, Lord ; what wilt thou have me to do ?' The soul is pliable 
for doing, for suffering, for anything God will have it. Then, ' Speak, Ijord, 
for thy servant heareth,' 1 Sam. iii. 9. 

And when the heart is thus wrought upon, and made tender by the 
Spirit, then afterward in the proceeding of our lives, many things will work 
tenderness: as the works of God, his judgments, the word and sacraments, 
when they are made effectual by the Spirit of God, work tenderness. The 
promises of God also make the heart tender, as Kom. xii. 1, 'I beseech 
you, brethren, by the mercies of God, offer up your souls and bodies a 
living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.' There is no such like 
argument to persuade men to tenderness of heart, as to propound the love 
and mercy of God. And so the fear of any judgment will work tenderness. 
This made Josiah's heart to melt, but yet this did not work first upon him : 
for he having a tender heart before, and being sure of God's love, when he 
heard the judgment that should come upon his people, out of love to God 
and to his people, his heart melted, not so much for fear of judgment, bat 
to think that God should be provoked by the sins of his people. 

And thus we have seen how tenderness of heart is wrought. Now I 
come to shew, 

2. Second, The means how we may preserve this tenderness of heart, because 
it is a disposition of God's children. How then shall we preserve ourselves 
in such a perpetual temper ? The way to preserve a tender heart is, 

1. First, To be under the means whereby God's Spirit will work ; for it is 
he by his Spirit that works upon the heart, and doth preserve tenderness 
in us ; and he will work only by his own means. All the devices in the 
world will not work upon the heart. Therefore let us be under the means 
that may preserve tenderness, and hear what God's word says of our estate 
by nature, of the wrath and justice of God, and of the judgment that will 
shortly come upon all the world. This made Paul to cry, though he knew 
that he was the child of God, and free from the law. * Therefore,' saith he, 
* knowing the terror of the law, we admonish you.' 

2. And then, go into the house of mourning, and present before yourselves 
the miserable and forlorn estate of the church of God abroad. It was this 
that broke Nehemiah's heart. When he heard that the Jews were in great 
affliction and reproach, that the wall of the city was broken down, and the 
gates thereof burnt with fire, he sat down and wept, and mourned certain 
days, fasted and prayed before the God of heaven, Neh. i. 4. This made 
this good man Nehemiah to mourn, so that all the princes of the court 
could not comfort him. This also made Moses's heart to melt, when he 
looked on his brethren's affliction in Egypt. So we might keep our hearts 
tender if we did but set before our eyes the pitiful estate of God's church 
abroad, and that we may come to be in such an estate ourselves ere long. 

3. And if thou wilt preserve tenderness of heart, labour for a legal and 
evangelical faith. We must believe that all the threatenings of God's 


vengeance against tlie wicked shall come to pass. Faith doth make these 
things present before our eyes ; for it is the nature of fliith to set things 
absent as present before us. AVhat makes the malefactor to tremble and 
be cast down, but when he sees that he is ready for to die, is going to the 
place of execution, and sees death look him in the face ? So faith setting 
the day of judgment before our eyes, will make us to tremble. Therefore 
Paul doth so often adjure Timothy by the coming of the Lord Jesus to 
judgment, 2 Tim. iv. 1 ; and Enoch set the day of judgment before him, 
at the beginning of the world, as we may see in Jude 14. He had a faith, 
that set things to come as present, and made him to walk with God. So 
if we had an evangelical faith to believe the goodness of God, pardon from 
him, and everlasting life, this would preserve tenderness of heart. 

4. Again, Good company will j)reserve tenderness of heart, sorting ourselves 
with those that are tender-hearted. For the soul will reason thus : Doth 
such a one make conscience of swearing, profaning the Sabbath? and doth 
he mourn for the miseries of the church ? Then what a hai*d piece of dead 
flesh am I, that have nothing in me ! 

5. Again, If thou wouldst preserve tenderness of heart, by all means 
take heed of the least sin against conscience, for the least sin in this kind 
makes way for hardness of heart. Sins that are committed against con- 
science do darken the understanding, dead the aifection, and take away life; 
so that one hath not the least strength to withstand the least temptation. 
And so it comes to pass by God's judgment; for when men will live in sins 
against conscience, he takes away his Spirit, and gives up the heart from 
one degree of hardness to another. For the heart at first being tender, 
will endure nothing, but the least sin will trouble it. As water, when it 
begins to freeze, will not endure anything, no not so much as the weight of 
a pin upon it, but after a while will bear the weight of a cart ; even so at 
the beginning, the heart being tender, trembles at the least sin, and will not 
bear with any one ; but when it once gives way to sins against conscience, 
it ^becomes so frozen that it can endure any sin, and so becomes more and 
more hard. Men are so obdurate, having once made a breach in their own 
hearts by sins against conscience, that they can endure to commit any 
sin ; and therefore God gives them up from one degree of hardness to 
another. What will not men do whom God hath given up to hardness of 
heart ? 

6. Again, If thou wilt preserve tenderness of heart, take heed of sjnritual 
drunkenness; that is, that thou be not drunk with an immoderate use of 
the creatures ; of setting thy love too much upon outward things. For 
what saith the prophet ? ' Wine and women take away the heart,' Hosea 
iv. 11 ; that is, the immoderate use of any earthly thing takes away spiritual 
sense ; for the more sensible the soul is of outward things, the less it is of 
Bpiritual. For as the outward takes away the inward heat, so the love of 
one thing abates the love of another. The setting of too much love upon 
earthly things, takes away the sense of better things, and hardens the heart. 
When the heart is filled with the pleasures and profits of this life, it is not 
sensible of any judgment that hangs over the head ; as in the old world, 
' they ate and drank, they married and gave in marriage, they bought and 
sold, while the flood came upon them and swept all away,' Mat. xxiv. 37. 
When a man sets his love upon the creature, the very strength of his soul is 
lost. Therefore in the Scripture, God joins prayer and fasting both 
together, Mat. xvii. 21 ; that when he would have our hearts raised up to 
heaven, we should have all use of earthly things taken away. Therefore 


when we are to go about spiritual duties, we must cut ourselves short in 
the use of the creatures. Talk of religion to a carnal man, whose senses 
are lost with love of earthly things, he hath no ear for that ; his sense is 
quite lost, he hath no relish or savour of anything that is good. Talk to a 
covetous man, that hath his soul set upon the things of this life, he hath 
no relish of anything else ; his heart is already so hardened to get honour 
and wealth, though it be to the ruin of others, that he cares not how hard 
it become. Therefore we are bidden to take heed that our hearts be not 
overcome with drunkenness and the cares of this life, for these will make a 
man to be insensible of spiritual things, Luke sxi. 34. 

7. Again, If thou wilt preserve tenderness of heart, take heed of hypocrisy; 
for it causeth swelling, and pride makes the heart to contemn others that 
be not like unto us. They bless themselves that they live thus and thus, 
they think themselves better than any other ; and if they hear the minister 
reprove them for sin, they will shift it ofi*, and say. Oh, this belongeth not 
to me, but to such a carnal man, and to such a wicked person ; as the 
Scribes and Pharisees, who were vile hypocrites, yet they were the cause 
of all mischief, and more hard-hearted than Pilate, an heathen man ; for he 
would have delivered Christ, but they would not, Luke xxiii. 14, seq. So, 
take a Romish hypocrite, that can proudly compliment it at every word 
with enticing speech, yet you shall find him more hard hearted than Turk 
or Jew ; for full of cruelty and blood is the ' whore of Babylon.' There- 
fore, if thou wilt have tenderness of heart, take heed of hypocrisy. 

8. Again, Above all things, take heed of great sins, which will harden the 
heart ; for little sins do many times not dead the heart, but stir up the 
conscience ; but great sins do stond* and dull a man ; as a prick of a pin 
will make a man to start, but a heavy blow maketh a man for to be dead 
for the present. Therefore take heed of great sins. Thus it was with 
David. He sinned in numbering of the people, and for this his heart smote 
him ; but when he came to the great and devouring sin of Uriah and Bath- 
sheba, this was a great blow that struck him and laid him for dead, till 
Nathan came and revived him, 2 Sam. xii. 1. For when men fall into 
great sins, their hearts are so hardened, that they go on from sin to sin. 
Let us therefore be watchful over our own hearts, to preserve tenderness. 
The eye being a tender part, and soonest hurt, how watchful is man by 
nature over that, that it take no hurt. So the heart, being a tender thing, 
let us preserve it by all watchfulness to keep blows from off it. It is a 
terrible thing to keep a wound of some great sin upon the conscience, for it 
makes a way for a new breach ; because when the conscience once begins 
to be hardened with some great sin, then there is no stop, but we run on 
to commit sin with all greediness. 

9. Lastly, If thou wilt preserve tenderness of heart, consider the miserable 
estate of hardness of heart. Such an one that hath an hard heart is next to 
hell itself, to the estate of a damned spirit, a most terrible estate. A hard 
heart is neither melted with promises nor broken with threatenings. He 
hath no bowels of pity to men or love to God. He forgets all judgment 
for things past, and looks for none to come. "When the soul is in this 
case, it is fit for nothing but for sin and the devil, whereas a tender-hearted, 
man is fit for all good. Let God threaten : he trembles and quakes ; let 
God promise : his heart melts and rejoiceth, and makes him even to break 
forth into thanksgiving ; let God command : he will perform all ; he is fit 
for any good thing to God and man. But when a man's heart is hardened 

* That is, ' stun,' = harden. — G. 


by hypocrisy, covetousness, or custom in sin, he hath no pity, no com- 
passion : let God command, threaten, or promise, yet the heart is never a 
whit moved. This is a terrible estate of soul. 

Now, to speak a little to young men that are like to this holy man Josiah. 
Surely his tenderness had some advantage from his years. Let those that 
are young by all means labour to keep tenderness of heart ; for if young 
persons be good, there is a sweet communion between God and them, 
before the heart be pestered with the cares of the world. God delights 
much in the prayers of young men, because they come not from so polluted 
a soul, hardened with the practices of this world. Let such, therefore, as 
are young, take advantage of it, to repent in time of their sins, and let them 
not put it off unto their old days. While we are young, let us not neglect 
natural tenderness ; although we cannot bring ourselves under the compass 
of God's kingdom by it, yet shall we get our hearts the sooner to be tender. 
In our youth, therefore, let us not neglect this good opportunity, as good 
Josiah did not when he was but young. Therefore let us repent of every 
sin betimes, and acquaint ourselves with those that are good ; as it is said, 
Heb. iii. 18, * Let us provoke one another daily, while it is called to-day, 
lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.' Let us use 
all means to keep our hearts tender. Oh, it is a blessed estate ! We are 
fit to live when our hearts are tender ; fit to die, fit to receive anything 
from God, fit for duties of honesty to men, for any service to God. But 
when we have lost sense and feeling, it must be the almighty power of God 
that must recover us again, and not one amongst an hundred comes to good. 
Therefore labour to preserve a tender, soft, and melting heart. 

Now, ere I proceed, give me leave to answer some cases of conscience, as, 

Quest. 1. First, Whether the children of God may be subject to this hard- 
ness of heart, opposed to this tenderness ? 

Quest. 2. Secondly, Whether a Christian may be more sensible of out- 
ward things than of spiritual, as the love of God, or his own sin, and the 

Sol. 1. To the first I answer, that the child of God may he hard-hearted. 
He may have some degrees of hardness of heart in him. For a Christian 
is a compounded creature ; he hath not only body and soul, but flesh and 
spirit. He is but in part renewed ; and therefore, having in him both 
flesh and spirit, he is subject to hardness of heart ; and it is clear that it 
may be so. Examples shew that God's children are not always alike 
sensible of the wrath of God and of his mercj'. They do not yield so to 
his commands as they should. But what is the reason that God doth 
suff'er his children to fall into this hardness of heart ? There is something 
in us that makes him give us up unto it, for we are no longer soft than he 
works upon us. 

Quest. But what doth move him to leave us in this disposition ? 

Sol. I answer, he doth it for correction of former neghgences, for sins of 
omission ; especially when they neglect some means of grace whereby their 
hearts might be kept tender: it is for want of stirring up of God's grace in 
them ; for want of an high esteem of grace bestowed upon them ; want of 
care of their company, for not associating themselves with such as are 
tender-hearted ; and from hence it comes that God suff'ers his children to 
fall into hardness of heart. 

Quest. But now, from hence ariseth another question : How may a man 
know his heart from the heart of a reprobate, seeing that God's children 
may have hardness of heart ? 



^Ans. I answer, that the heart of a man that is a very reprobate is totally, 
wholly ,^ and finally hardened, and it is joined with security and insensible- 
ness ; it is joined with obstinacy, and with contempt of the means. But 
the child of God hath not total and final hardness of heart, but hath a 
sensibleness of it, he feeleth and seeth it. Total hardness doth feel nothing, 
but a Christian that hath hardness of heart, doth feel that he hath it ; as a 
man that hath the stone in his bladder, feels and knows that he hath a 
stone. A hard-hearted man feels nothing, but he that hath but only hard- 
ness of heart doth feel : for there is difl'erence between hardness of heart 
and a hard heart ; for the child of God may have hardness of heart, but 
not a hard heart. Now, I say a child of God that hath hardness of heart 
is sensible of his hardness, and performs the actions of a sensible soul : he 
useth some good means for the softening of it, for the sense thereof is 
grievous to him above all other crosses ; and whiles he is under it, he 
thinks that all is not with him as it should be : therefore he complains of 
it above all other afflictions, which makes him cry to God, as we may see, 
Isa. Ixiii. 17, ' Why hast thou hardened our hearts from thy fear ?' 

Ohj. But some may demand how God doth harden. 

Sol. I answer, the cause is first from our own selves ; but he hardens 
four ways : 

First, Privatively, by withholding and withdrawing his melting and soften- 
ing power. For as the sun causeth darkness by withdrawing his light and 
warming power, so God withdrawing that melting power whereby we should 
be softened, it cannot be but that we must needs be hardened. 

_ 2. Secondly, Negativehj, by denying of grace ; by taking away from us 
his graces, which are not natural in us. Thus God doth to those whom 
he doth absolutely harden ; he takes away that which they have, and so 
they become worse than they of themselves were by nature. When men 
walk unworthy of the gospel, God takes away very rational life from them, 
and gives them up to hardness of heart, that they run on in such courses, 
as that they are their own enemies, and bring upon themselves ruin. 

3. Thirdly, And as God hardens by privation and negation, so, in the 
third place, he hardens hj tradition:'^ by giving us up to the devil, to be 
vexed by his troubles, to harden us. It is a fearful judgment. When we 
take a course to grieve the Spirit of God, the Spirit will take a course to 
grieve us : he will give us up to Satan, to blind and to harden us. So that 
though God doth not work, as the author, efiectually in this hardening, yet 
as a just judge he doth, by giving us up to Satan and the natural lusts of 
our own hearts, which are worse than all the devils in hell. 

4. Fourthly and lastly. He doth harden objectively, by propounding good 
objects, which, meeting with a wicked heart, make it more hard, as, Isa. 
vi. 10, it is said, ' Harden these people's hearts.' How ? By preaching 
of the word. A good object, if it lights upon a bad soul, hardens the 
heart ; for they that are not bettered by religion, under the means, are so 
much the worse by their use. So we see God cannot be impeached with 
the hardening of our hearts, because all the cause is from ourselves ; for 
whether he hardens by privation, negation, tradition, or by propounding 
good objects, it is all from ourselves ; and likewise we have seen that God's 
children may have hardness of heart in some measure, but yet it differs 
from a reprobate, because they see and feel it, grieve for it, and complain 
of it to God. 

Quest. The second question is. But whether may a child of God he mor« 
* That is, ' giving up.' Cf. 1 Tim. i. 20 for the word.—G. 


sensible of outward joys or crosses, than of spiritual thinfjs ? for this makes 
many think they have not tender hearts, because they are more sensible of 
outward things than of spiritual. 

, Ans. I answer, It is not always alike loith them ; for God's children are 
still complaining of something : of their carelessness in good duties, of 
their want of strength against corruption. They go mourning when they 
have made God to bring them down upon their knees for their hardness of 
heart ; but there is an intercourse, in the children of God, between the 
flesh and the spirit. They are partly flesh and partly spirit. Therefore 
many times, for a while, when the flesh prevails, there may be a sudden 
joy and a sudden sorrow, Avhich may be greater than spiritual joy or spiritual 
sorrow ; but yet it is not continual. But spiritual sorrow, grief for sin, 
though it be not so vehement as, for the sudden, outward sorrow is, yet it 
is more constant. Grief for sin is continual ; whereas outward sorrow is 
but upon a sudden, though it seem to be more violent. 

2. And again, in reyard of their valuing and prizing of earthly things, there 
may be a sudden sorrow : for a child of God may, upon a sudden, over- 
prize outward things, and esteem them at too high a rate ; but yet after 
that, valuing things by good advice, they prize spiritual things far beyond 
outward ; and therefore their sorrow and joy is more for spiritual things, 
because it is constant. This I speak, not to cherish any neglect in any 
Christian, but for comfort to such as are troubled for it ; therefore let such 
know, that God will not ' break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking 
flax.' If they have but a desire, and by conscionable * use of means, do 
shew their desire to be true, they shall have it at last, for Christ doth con- 
tinue to make intercession for us ; and if there were no weakness in us, 
what need Christ continue to make peace for us ? for peace is made for 
those that fall out. Therefore, if there were no falling out between God 
and us, what need Christ to continue to make intercession for us ? For 
these reasons, we see a child of God, for the present, may be more sensible 
of outward things than of spiritual. 

Quest. But here another question may be asked, How shall we know 
that we have sensibleness and pliableness, or not ? 

Ans. I answer. Easily, by applying of the soul unto objects, as 1, to God ; 
2, to his word ; 3, to his works ; 4, to man. 

We may try our tenderness and pliableness of heart these four ways : | 

1. To God. As it is tender from God, so it is tender for God; for the f 
three persons of the Trinity. He that hath a tender heart cannot endure 
to dishonour God himself, or to hear others dishonour him, either by his 
own sins or by others.' He cannot endure to hear God's name blasphemed. 
So that they have a tender heart v^^ho when they see Christ in his religion 
to be wronged, cannot choose but be afiected with it. So again, a man 
hath a tender heart when he yields to the motions of the Holy Ghost. 
When the Spirit moves, and he yields, this shews there is a tender heart. 
But a hard heart beats back all, and as a stone to the hammer, will not 
yield to any motion of God's Spirit. 

2. Now, in the second place, to come downward, a tender heart is sen- 
sible in regard of the ivord of God; as, first, at the threatenings a true 
tender heart will tremble, as Isa. Ixvi. 2, ' To him will I look, even to him , 
that is of a contrite and broken spirit, and trembleth at my words,' A ' 
man that hath a tender heart will tremble at the signs of the anger of 
God : * Shall the lion roar, and the beasts of the forest not be afraid ? ' 

* That is, ' conscientious.' — G. 



Amos iii. 4. Yes, tliey will stand still and tremble at the roaring of the 
lion ; but much more will a tender heart tremble when God roars, and 
threatens vengeance. A tender heart will tremble when it hears of the 
terrors of the Lord at the day of judgment, as Paul did : ' Now knowing 
the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men,' 2 Cor. v. 11. It forced him 
to be faithful in his office. This use the apostle Peter would have us 
make of it : 2 Pet. iii. 11, ' That seeing all these things must be dissolved, 
what manner of persons ought we to be in holy conversation and godli- 
ness ? ' And so for the promises in the word. The heart is tender when 
the word of God doth rejoice a man above all things. How can the heart 
but melt at God's promises, for they are the sweetest things that can be. 
Therefore when a tender heart hears God's promises, it makes him to 
melt and be sensible of them. Again, a tender heart will be pliable to any 
direction in the word. To God's call it will answer, ' Here I am ;' Lord, 
what wilt thou have me to do ? As Isaiah, when he had once a tender 
heart, then ' Send me, Lord,' Isa. vi. 8. So David to God's command, 
* Seek ye my face,' answers, * Thy face. Lord, will I seek,' Ps. xxvii. 8. 
There is a gracious echo of the soul to God in whatsoever he saith in his 
word. And thus a true, tender heart doth yield to the word of God, and 
is fit to run on any errand. 

3. Thirdly, By applying it to the irorks of God ; for a tender heart quakes 
when it doth see the judgment of God abroad upon others. It hastens to 
make his peace with God, and to meet him by repentance. So again, a 
tender heart rejoiceth at the mercy of God, for it doth see something in it 
better than the thing itself; and that is the love of God, from which it doth 

4. Fourthly, A man may know his heart to be tender and sensible, in 
regard of the estate of others, whether they he good or bad. If they be 
wicked, he hath a tender heart for them; as David, Ps. cxix. 136, 'Mine 
eyes gush out with rivers of water, because men keep not thy law.' So 
Paul saith, ' There are many that walk inordinately, of whom I have told 
you before, and now tell you weeping,' &c., Phil. iii. 18. So Christ was 
sensible of the misery of Jerusalem, wept for it, and a little while after, 
shed his own blood for it. Mat. xxiii. 37. Thus had he a tender heart. 
But when Christ looked to God's decree, he saith, ' Father, I thank thee, 
Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise 
and noble, and hast revealed them unto babes,' Mat. xi. 25. And so like- 
wise for those that are good, in giving and forgiving ; in giving, they give 
not only the thing, but they give their hearts and affections with it ; and 
so in forgiving, they apprehend Christ's love in forgiving them ; therefore 
they forgive others. So for works, will God have a tender heart to do any- 
thing, it will do it. If he will have it mourn, it will mourn ; if to rejoice, 
it will rejoice ; it is fit for every good work. By these marks we may know 
whether we have tender hearts or no. 

But to apply this ; how is this affection of Josiah in the hearts of men 
in these days ? How many have melting hearts when they hear God 
blasphemed, and the religion of Christ wronged ? How few are there 
that yield to the motions of the Spirit ! We may take up a wonderful 
complaint of the hardness of men's hearts in these days, who never 
tremble at the word of God. Neither his promises, nor threatenings, nor 
commands will melt their hearts ; but this is certain, that they which are 
not better under religion, by the means of grace, are much the worse. 
And how sensible are we of the church's miseries ? For a tender heart is 



sensible of the miseries of the church, as being members of the same body, 
whereof Christ is the head. But men now-a-days are so far from melting 
hearts, that they want natural affection, as Paul foretells of such in the 
latter times, 1 Tim. iv. 1. They have less bowels of pity in them, when 
they hear how it goes with the church abroad, than very pagans and 
heathens. This shews they have no tender hearts, that they are not knit 
to Christ by faith, who is the head ; nor to the church, the body, in love. 
How is thy heart affected to men when they commit any sin against God, 
as idolaters, swearers, drunkards, liars, and the like ? Is it mercy to let 
these go on in their sins towards hell ? No, this is cruelty ; but mercy is 
to be shewed unto them, in restraining men from their wicked courses. 
Therefore do not think thou shewest mercy unto them by letting them 
alone in sin, but exhort and instruct them. Coldness and deadness is a 
spiritual disease in these days. But surely they that have the Spirit of 
God warming their hearts, are sensible of their own good and ill, and of 
the good and ill of the time. Well, if you will know you have a tender 
heart, look to God, look to his word, to his works, to yourselves, and 
others ; and so you shall know whether you have tender hearts or not. 

Quest. But here may be another question asked. How shall men recover 
themselves, when they are subject to this hardness, deadness, and insen- 
sibleness ? If after examination a man find himself to be thus, how shall 
he recover himself out of this estate. I answer, 

Ans. 1. First, As when things are cold we bring them to the fire to heat 
and melt, so brlnff ice our cold hearts to the fire of the love of Christ ; consider 
we of our sins against Christ, and of Christ's love towards us ; dwell upon 
this meditation. Think what great love Christ hath shewed unto us, and 
how little we have deserved, and this will make our hearts to melt, and be 
as pliable as wax before the sun. 

2. Secondly, If thou wilt have this tender and melting heart, then use the 
means ; be always under the sunshine of the gospel. Be under God's sun- 
shine, that he may melt thy heart ; be constant in good means ; and help 
one another. ' We must provoke one another daily, lest any be hardened 
through the deceitfulness of sin,' Heb. iii. 13. Physicians love not to 
give physic to themselves. So a man is not always fit to help himself 
when he is not right ; but good company is fit to do it. ' Did not our hearts 
bm-n within us while he talked with us?' said the two disciples, holding 
communion each with other at Emmaus, Luke xxiv. 32. For then Christ 
comes and makes a third, joins with them, and so makes their hearts burn 
within them. So Christ saith, ' Where two or three are met together m his 
name, he is in the midst of them,' Mat. xviii. 20. Now they were under the pro- 
mise, therefore he affords his presence. Where two hold communion together, 
there Christ will make a third. Therefore let us use the help of others, 
seeing David could not recover himself, being a prophet, but he must have 
a Nathan to help him, 2 Sam. xii. 7. Therefore if we would recover our- 
selves from hard and insensible hearts, let us use the help one of another.^ 

3. Thirdly, We must with boldness and reverence challenge the covenant of 
grace; for this is the covenant that God hath made with us, to give us 
tender hearts, hearts of flesh, as Ezek. xi. 19, « I will give them one heart, 
and put a new spirit within their bowels ; I will take away the stony hearts 
out of their bodies, and I will give them a heart of flesh. Now seeing this 
is a covenant God hath made, to give us fleshly hearts and to take away 
our stony, let us challenge him with his promise, and go to him by prayer. 
Entreat him to give thee a fleshly heart ; go to him, wait his time, for that 



is the best time. Therefore wait though he do not hear at first. These are 
the means to bring tenderness of heart. 

Now, that ye may be stirred up to this duty, namely, to get a soft and 
tender heart, mark here, 

1. First, What an excellent thing a tender heart is. God hath promised 
to dwell in such an heart, and is it an excellent thing to have God dwell in 
our hearts, as he hath promised, Isa. Ivii. 15, ' For thus saith he that is 
high and excellent, he that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is the Holy 
One : I will dwell in the high and holy place, and with him also that is of 
a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to give 
life to them that are of a contrite heart?' So Isa. Ixvi. 2, ' To him will I 
look, even to him that is poor and contrite in spirit, and doth tremble at 
my words.' Now God having promised to dwell where there is a soft heart, 
and no hardness, no rocks to keep him out ; can God come into a heart 
without a blessing ? Can he be separated from goodness, which is good- 
ness itself ? When the heart therefore is pliable and thus tender, there is 
an immediate communion between the soul and God ; and can that heart 
be miserable that hath communion with God ? Surely no. 

2. Secondly, Consider that this doth Jit a man for the end for which he ivas 
created. A man is never fit for that end for which he was made, but when 
he hath a tender heart ; and what are we redeemed for, but that we should 
serve God ? And who is fit to be put in the service of God but he that 
hath begged a tender heart of God ? 

3. Thirdly, To stir you up to labour for this, consider that a tender heart 
is fit for any blessedness. It is capable of any beatitude. What makes a 
man blessed in anything but a tender heart ? This will make a man to 
hear the word, to read, to shew mercies to others. ' Blessed are the poor 
in spirit,' saith Christ, ' for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' A tender 
heart is blessed, because that only heareth God's word, and doth it ; and 
it is always a merciful heart, and therefore blessed. 

4. Again, Consider the xvretched estate of a heart contrary, that is not tender, 
and will not yield. Oh what a wonderful hardness would the heart of man 
grow to, if we do not follow it with means to soften it ! What a fearful 
thing was it to see what strange things fell out at Christ's death, what dark- 
ness there was, what thunders and lightnings. The veil of the Temple 
rent, the sun was turned into darkness, the graves opened, and the dead 
did rise, yet notwithstanding none of these would make the hypocritical 
Pharisees to tremble, but they mocked at it, although it made a very 
heathen man confess it the work of God, Mat. xxvii. 45-54. For a ceremonial 
hypocrite is more hard than a Turk, Jew, or Pagan. All the judgments of 
God upon Pharaoh were not so great as hardness of heart. The papists, 
after they have been at their superstitious devotion, are fittest for powder- 
plots and treasons, because their hearts are so much more hardened. What 
fearful things may a man come to, if he give way to hardness of heart ! 
He ma}^ come to an estate like the devil, yea, worse than Judas, for he had 
some sensibleness of his sin ; he confessed he had sinned in betraying the 
innocent blood. But many of these hypocrites have no sensibleness at all, 
which is a fearful thing. Eli's children hearkened not to the voice of their 
father, because that the Lord had a purpose to destroy them, 1 Sam. ii. 25. 
So it is in this case a shrewd sign that God will destroy those that are so 
insensible that nothing will work upon them. But these hypocrites shall 
be sensible one day, when they shall wish they were as insensible as in 
their lifetime they were. But it will be an unfruitful repentance to repent 


in hell ; for there a man shall get no benefit by his repentance, seeing there 
they cannot shake ofi" the execution of God's judgment, as thej^ shake off 
the threatenings of his judgments here. Well, to this fearful end, before it be 
long, must every one that hath a hard heai't come, unless they repent. 
Therefore let every one be persuaded to labour for a tender, pliable, yield- 
ing, and sensible heart here, else we shall have it hereafter against our wills, 
when it will do us no good ; for then hypocrites shall be sensible against 
their wills, though tbey would not be sensible in this life. 

And thus I have done with the first inward cause in Josiah that moved 
God so to respect him, namely, tenderness of heart. 



Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, 
when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants 
thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep 
before me, dc.—'l Chron. XXXIV. 27. 

Of tenderness of heart, the first inward cause in Josiah, which moved God 
to pity him, so as he should not be an eye-witness of the fearful calami- 
ties to come upon his land and people, is largely spoken in the former 
sermon ; wherein is also shewed how it is wrought, preserved, discerned, 
recovei'ed when it is lost ; what encouragements we have to seek and labour 
for it, with some other things which I will not here repeat, but fall directly 
upon that which follows, ' And thou didst humble thyself before God.' In 
which words we have set down the second inward cause in Josiah, that 
moved God to shew mercy unto him ; the humbling of himself. ' And 
thou didst humble thyself before God.' Tenderness of heart and humbling 
a man's self go both together ; for things that are hard will not yield nor 
bow. A great iron bar will not bow, a hard stony heart will not yield. 
Now, therefore, humbling of ourselves, the making of us as low as the 
ground itself, is added unto tenderness ; for the soul being once tender and 
melting, is fit to be humbled, yea, cares not how low it be abased, so 
mercy may follow. For the better unfolding of the words, we will con- 

1. The person that did humble himself: ' Josiah,' a king, a great man. 

2. Humiliation itself, and the qualities of it: ' and humbledst thyself before 
God,' which argued the sincerity of it. 

3. The occasion of it : ' when thou heardest the words against this place, 
and against the inhabitants thereof.' 

4. The outward expression of it, in weeping and rending his clothes; which 
we will handle in their place. 

1. First, for the person, ' Thou didst humble thyself,* Josiah a king, 
who was tenderly brought up, and highly advanced ; a thing which makes 
the work so much the more commendable ; whence we learn, 

Doct. 1. That it is a disposition not unbefitting kings to humble themselves 
"before God. For howsoever they are gods downward, to those that are under 



them, yet if they look upward, what are kings ? The greater light hides the 
lesser. What are all the inhahitants of the earth in his sight, hut as a 
drop of a bucket, as dust upon the balance, of no moment ! Isa. _xl. 15. 
« I have said you are gods, but you shall die like men,' Ps. Ixxxii. 6, 7. 
For howsoever the saints of God differ from other men in regard of their 
use, and the inscription God hath set upon them, yet they are of the same 
stuff, dust, as others are. And so kings, though in civil respects they differ 
from other men, yet are they of the same metal, and shall end in death, 
all their glory must lie in the dust. 

Therefore it is not unbefitting kings to humble themselves before God, 
seeing they have to deal with him who is a ' consuming fire,' Heb. xii. 29, 
before whom the very angels cover their faces. 1 say it is no shame for 
the greatest monarch of the earth to abase himself when he hath to do 
with God ; yea, kings, of all other persons, ought most to humble theni- 
selves, to shew their thankfulness to God, who hath raised them from their 
brethren to be heads of his people. And considering the endowments 
which kings usually have, they are bound to humble themselves, as also 
in regard of the authority and power which God hath put into their hands, 
saying, ' By me kings reign,' Prov. viii. 15. But usually we see, from the 
beginning of the world, that kings forget God. Where there is not grace 
above nature, there kings will not stoop to Christ ; but so far as it agrees 
with their pleasure and will, so far shall Christ be served, and no farther. 
But yet God hath always raised up some nursing fathers and mothers, 

. as he hath done to us, for which we ought to bless God, — who have and 

' do make conscience of this mentioned duty, so well_ beseeming Christian 
princes, as in sundry other respects, so also in this, that therein they 
might be exemplary to the people. For no doubt but Josiah did this 
also, that his people might not think it a shame for them to humble them- 
selves before God, whenas he their king, tender in years, and subjectto no 
earthly man, did before them, in his own person, prostrate himself in the 
humblest manner before the great God of heaven and earth. _ 

As that ointment poured upon Aaron's head fell from his head to the 
skirts, and so spread itself to the rest of the parts, even to his feet, Ps. 
cxxxiii. 2, so a good example in a king descends down to the lowest subjects, 
as the rain from the mountains into the valleys. Therefore a king should 
first begin to humble himself. Kings are called fathers to their subjects, 
because^they should bear a loving and holy affection to their people, that 
when anything troubles the subjects, they should be affected with it. 
Governors are not to have a distinct good from their subjects, but the wel- 
fare of the subjects should be the glory of their head. Therefore Josiah 
took the judgments threatened as his own: howsoever his estate was 
nothing unto theirs. 

It is said moreover, ' Thou didst humble thyself.' He was both the 
agent and the patient, the worker and the object of his work : it came 
from him, and ended in him. Humiliation is a reflected action : Josiah 
humbled himself. And certainly this is that true humiliation, the humbling 
of ourselves ; for it is no thanks for a man to be humbled by God, as 
Pharaoh was ; for God can humble and pull down the proudest that do 
oppose his church. God by this gets himself glory. But here is the 
glory of a Christian, that he hath got grace from God to humble himself; 
which humbhng is, from our own judgment, and upon discerning of good 
grounds, to bring our affections to stoop unto God ; to humble ourselves. 
Many are humbled that are not humble ; many are cast down that have 


proud hearts still, as Pharaoh had. It is said, ' Thou humbledst thyself.' 
Then we learn, 

Doct. 2. That the actions of [trace are reflected actions. They begin from a 
man's self, and end in a man's self; yet we must not exclude the Spirit of 
God ; for he doth not say, thou from thyself didst humble thyself, but ' thou 
didst humble thyself.' We have grace from God to humble ourselves. So 
that the Spirit of God doth work upon us as upon fit subjects, in which 
grace doth work. Though such works be the works of God, yet they are 
said to be ours, because God doth work them in us and by us. We are 
said to humble ourselves, because we are temples wherein he works, seeing 
he useth the parts of our soul, as the understanding, the will, and the 
affections, in the work. Therefore it is foolish for the papists to say, good 
works be our own, as from ourselves. No ; good works, say we, are ours, 
as effects of the Spirit in us. But for the further expression of this 
humbling of ourselves before God, we will consider, 

1. The kinds and degrees of it. 

2. Some directions how we may humble ourselves. 

3. The motives to move us to it. 

4. The notes whereby it may be known. 

1. First, for the nature and kinds of it ; we must know that humiliation 
is either 

(1.) Inward, in the mind first of all, and then in the affections; or, 

(2.) Outward, in expression of ivords, and likewise in carriage. 

(1.) To begin with the first inward humiliation in the mind, in regard of 
judgment and knowledge, is, when our understandings are convinced, that we 
are as we are ; when we are not high-minded, but when we judge meanly 
and basely of ourselves, both in regard of our beginning and dependency 
upon God, having all from him, both life, motion, and being ; and also in 
regard of our end, what we shall be ere long. All glory shall end in the 
dust, all honour in the grave, and all riches in poverty. And withal, true 
humiliation is also in regard of spiritual respects, when we judge aright 
how base and vile we are in regard of our natural corruption, that we are 
by nature not only guilty of Adam's sin, but that we have, besides that, 
wrapt ourselves in a thousand more guilts by our sinful course of life, and 
that we have nothing of our own, no, not power to do the least good thing. 
When we look upon any vile person, we may see our own image. So that 
if God had not been gracious unto us, we should have been as bad as they. 
In a word, inward conviction of our natural frailty and misery, in regard of 
the filthy and foul stain of sin in our nature and actions, and of the many 
guilts of spiritual and temporal plagues in this life and that which is to 
come, is that inward humiliation in the judgment or understanding. 

Again, Inward humihation, besides spiritual conviction, is when there are 
affections of humiliation. And what be those ? Shame, sorrow, fear, and 
such like penal afflictive affections. For, upon a right conviction of the 
understanding, the soul comes to be stricken with shame that we are in 
such a case as we are ; especially when we consider God's goodness to us, 
and our dealing with him. This will breed shame and abasement, as it did 
in Daniel. Shame and sorrow ever follow sin, first or last, as the apostle 
demands, Rom. vi. 21, ' What fruit had ye then in those things whereof 
ye are now ashamed ? ' After conviction of judgment there is always 
shame ; and likewise there is sorrow and grief. For God hath made the 
inward faculties of the soul so, that upon the apprehension of the under- 
standing, the heart comes to be stricken through with grief, which works 


upon our souls. Therefore we are said in Scripture to afflict ourselves ; 
that is, -when we set ourselves upon meditation of our deserts. Hereupon 
we cannot but be affected inwardly, for these sorrows are so many daggers 
to pierce through the heart. 

The third penal affection is, fear and trembling before GocVs judgments 
and his threatenings, a fear of the majesty of God, whom we have offended, 
which is able to send us to hell if his mercies were not beyond our deserts. 
But his mercy it is, that we are not consumed. A fear of this great God is 
a part of this inward humiliation. So we see what inward humiliation is : 
first, a conviction of the judgment ; and then it pi'oceeds to inward afflic- 
tive affections, as grief, shame, fear, which, when upon good ground and fit 
objects, they are wrought in us by the Holy Ghost, they are parts of inward 
humiliation. But as for the wicked, they drown themselves in their pro- 
faneness, because they would not be ashamed, nor fear, nor grieve for them. 
But this makes way for terrible shame, sorrow, and fear afterwards ; for 
those that will not shame, grieve, and fear here, shall be ashamed before 
God and his angels at the day of judgment, and shall be tormented in hell 
for ever. 

2. Secondly, His onhvard humiliation is expressed and manifested in 
words, in outward behaviour and carriage. The words which he used are 
not here set down ; but certainly Josiah did speak words when he humbled 
himself. It was not a dumb show, but done with his outward expression 
and his inward affection. This is evident by those words of the text, ' I 
have heard thee also,' saith the Lord. Without doubt, therefore, he did 
speak something. But because true sorrow cannot speak distinctly, — for a 
broken soul can speak but broken words, — therefore his words are not here 
set down, but yet God heard them well enough. And indeed, so it is some- 
times, that the grief for the affliction may be stronger than the faculty of 
speech, so that a man cannot speak for grief. As a heathen man, by light 
of nature, did weep and grieve for his friends, but when his child came to be 
killed before him, he stood like a stone, because his sorrow was so great 
that it exceeded all expression. So humiliation may so exceed that it cannot 
be expressed in words ; as David himself, when he was told of his sins by 
Nathan, did not express all his sorrow, but saith, ' I have sinned ;' yet 
afterwards, he makes the 51st Psalm, a composed speech for supply, a fit 
pattern for an humble and broken soul. So doubtless there was outward 
expression of words in Josiah, although they be not here set down. This 
speech, which is a part of humiliation, is called a confession of our sins to 
God ; with it should be joined hatred and grief afflictive, as also a depre- 
cation and desire that God would remove the judgment which we have 
deserved by our sins ; and likewise a justification of God, in what he hath 
laid or may lay upon us. Lord, thou art righteous and just in all thy judg- 
ments ; shame and confusion belongeth unto me ; my sins have deserved 
that thou shouldest pour down thy vengeance upon me ; it is thy great 
mercy that I am not consumed. The good thief upon the cross justified 
God, saying, ' We are here justly for our deserts ; but this man doth suffer 
wrongfully,' Luke xxiii. 41. Justification and self-condemnation go with 
humihation. This is the outward expression in words. Now the outward 
humiliation in respect of his carriage, is here directly set down in two acts : 

1. Rending of clothes. And 2. Weeping. 

But of these I shall speak afterwards when I come at them. Thus we 
have seen the degrees and kinds of humiliation. 

Seeing it is such a necessary qualification, for humiliation is a funda- 


mental grace tliat gives strength to all other graces ; seeing, I say, it is such 
a necessary temper of a holy gracious man to be humble ; how may we 
come to humble ourselves as we should do ? I answer, Let us take these 
directions : 

1. First, Get j)oor S2nrits, that is, spirits to see the wants in ourselves 
and in the creature ; the emptiness of all earthly things without God's 
favour ; the insufficiency of ourselves and of the creature at the day of judg- 
ment ; for what the wise man saith of riches may be truly said of all other 
things under the sun : they avail not in the day of wrath, but righteousness 
delivereth from death, Prov. xi. 4. 

Josiah was not poor in respect of the world, for he was a king ; but he 
was * poor in spirit,' because he saw an emptiness in himself. He knew 
his kindgom could not shield him from God's judgment, if he were once 

(1.) Let us consider our original. From whence came we ? From the 
earth, from nothing. Whither go we ? To the earth, to nothing. And 
in respect of spiritual things, we have nothing. We are not able to do 
anything of ourselves, no, not so much as to think a good thought. 

(2.) Likewise, consider we the guilt of our sins. What do we deserve ? 
Hell and damnation, to have our portion with hypocrites in that * lake that 
burneth with fire and brimstone.' 

(3.) Let us have before our eyes the picture of old Adam, our sinful 
nature : how we are drawn away by every object ; how ready to be proud 
of anything ; how unable to resist the least sin ; how ready to be cast down 
under every affliction ; that we cannot rejoice in any blessing ; that we have 
no strength of ourselves to perform any good or suffer ill ; in a word, how 
that we carry a nature about us indisposed to good, and prone to all evil. 
This consideration humbled Paul, and made him to cry out, when no other 
afflictions could move him, ' miserable man that I am, who shall deliver 
me from this body of death ? ' Kom. vii. 24. By this means we come to be 
poor in spirit. 

2. If we would have humble spirits, let us bring ourselves into the presence 
of the great God: set ourselves in his presence, and consider of his attributes, 
his works of justice abroad in the world, and open'^ ourselves in particular. 

Consider his wisdom, holiness, power, and strength, with our own. It 
will make us abhor ourselves, and repent in dust and ashes. Let us bring 
ourselves into God's presence, be under the means, under his word, that 
there we may see ourselves ripped up, and see what we are. As Job, when 
he brought himself into God's presence, said, ' I abhor myself, and repent 
in dust and ashes,' Job xlii. 6. Job thought himself somebody before ; but 
when God comes to examine him, and upon examination found that he 
could not give a reason of the creature, much less of the Lord's, afflicting 
his children, then he saith, * I abhor myself.' So Abraham, the more he 
talked with God, the more he did see himself but dust and ashes. This is 
the language of the holy men in Scripture, when they have to deal or think 
of God. ' I am not worthy,' says John Baptist, John i. 27. So Paul : * I 
am not worthy to be called an apostle,' 1 Cor. xv. 9. So the centurion : 
' I am not worthy thou shouldst come into my house,' Mat. viii. 8. ' I am 
less than the least of thy blessings,' saith Jacob, Gen. xxxii. 10. Thus 
let us come into the presence of God, under the means of his word, and 
then we shall see our own vileness, which will work humiliation ; for, as 
the apostle saith, when a poor simple man doth come, and hears the pro- 

* Qu. ' upon ' ? — Ed. 


phecy, that is, tlie word of God, with application unto himself, laying open 
his particular sins, doubtless he will say, God is in you, 1 Cor. xiv. 24, 25. 

3. That we may humble ourselves, let us be content to hear of oar sins 
and baseness by others. Let us be content that others should acquaint us 
with anything that may humble us. Proud men are the devil's pipes, and 
flatterers the musicians to blow these pipes. Therefore it is, that though 
men have nothing of their own, yet they love to give heed to flatterers, to 
blow their bladder full, which do rob them of themselves ; whereas a true, 
wise man, will be content to hear of anything that may humble him before 

4. And withal, that we may humble ourselves, look to the time to come, 
what ice shall be ere long, earth and dust ; and at the day of judgment we 
must be stripped of all. What should puff" us up in this world ? All our 
glory shall end in shame, all magnificency in confusion, all riches in poverty. 
It is a strange thing that the devil should raise men to be proud of that 
which they have not of their own, but of such things which they have 
borrowed and begged ; as for men to be proud of themselves in regard of 
their parents. So, many there are who think the better of themselves for 
their apparel, when yet they are clothed with nothing of their own, and so 
are proud of the very creature. But thus the devil hath besotted our nature, 
to make us glory in that which should abase us, and to think the better of 
ourselves, for that which is none of our own. Nay, many in the church of 
God, are so far from humbling themselves, that they come to manifest their 
pride, to shew themselves, to see and to be seen. Thus the devil besots 
many thousand silly creatures, that come in vainglory into the house of 
God ; that whereas they should humble themselves before him, they are 
puffed up with a base empty pride, even before God. Therefore let us take 
notice of our wonderful proneness to have a conceit of ourselves ; for if a 
man have a new fashion, or some new thing, which nobody else knows 
besides himself, how wonderful conceited will he be of himself ! Let us 
take notice, I say, of our proneness to this sin of pride ; for the best are 
prone to it. Consider, it is a wonderful hateful sin, a sin of sins, that God 
most hates. It was this sin that made him thrust Adam out of paradise. 
It was this sin which made him thrust the evil angels out of heaven, who 
shall never come there again. Yea, it is a sin that God cures with other 
sins, so far he hateth it ; as Paul, being subject to be proud through the 
abundance of revelations, was cured of it by a prick in the flesh : being 
exercised with some dangerous, noisome, and strange cure. Indeed, it is 
profitable for some men to fall, that so by their humiliation for infirmities, 
they may be cured of this great, this sacrilegious sin.* And why is it called 
a sacrilegious sin ? Because it robs God of his glory. For God hath said, 
' My glory I will not give to another,' Isa. xlii. 8. Is not the grace, good- 
ness, and mercy of God sufficient for us, but we must enter into his pre- 
rogatives, and exalt ourselves ? We are both idols and idol- worshippers, 
when we think highly of ourselves, for we make ourselves idols. Now God 
hates idolatry ; but pride is a sacrilege, therefore God hates pride. 

■ 5. If we would humble ourselves, let iis set before us the example of our 
blessed Saviour; for we must be conformable to him, by whom we hope to 
be saved. He left heaven, took our base nature, and humbled himself to 
the death of the cross, yea, to the washing of his disciples' feet, and among 
the rest, washed Judas's feet, and so sufi'ered himself to be killed as a 
traitor, Philip, ii. 5-7 ; and all this to satisfy the wrath of God for us, and 
* Cf. Augustine in references and quotations of note y, Vol. III. p. 531. — G. 



that he might be a pattern for us to be like-minded. Therefore, if we 
would humble ourselves by pattern, here is a pattern without all exception. 
Let us be transformed into the likeness of him ; yea, the more we think of 
him, the more we shall be humbled. For it is impossible for a man to 
dwell upon this meditation of Christ in humility, and with faith to apply it 
to himself, that he is his particular Saviour, but this faith will abase the 
heart, and bring it to be like Christ in all spiritual representation. A heart 
that believeth in Christ will be humbled like Christ. It will be turned 
from all fleshly conceit of excellency, to be like him. Is it possible, if a 
man consider he is to be saved by an abased and humble Saviour, that was 
pliable to every base service, that had not a house to hide himself ; I say, 
is it possible that he which considers of this, should ever be willingly or 
wilfully proud ? Do we hope to be saved by Christ, and will we not be 
like him ? When we were firebrands of hell, he humbled himself to the 
death of the cross, left heaven and happiness a- while, and took our shame, 
to be a pattern to us. We know that Christ was brought into the world 
by a humble virgin. So the heart wherein he dwells must be an humble 
heart. If we have true faith in Christ, it will cast us down, and make us 
to be humbled. For it is impossible that a man should have faith to chal- 
lenge any part in Christ, except he be conformed to the image of Chi'ist in 
humility. Therefore let us take counsel of Christ : ' Learn of me, for I am 
humble and meek ; and so you shall find rest to your souls,' Mat. xi. 29. 

Lastly, That we may humble ourselves, let us ivork upon our own souls hy 
reasoning, discoursing, and speaking to our own hearts. For the soul hath a 
faculty to work upon itself. Now this, being a reflected action, to humble 
ourselves, it must be done by some inward action ; and what is that ? To 
discourse thus : If so be a prince should but frown upon me when I have 
ofiiended his law, in what case should I be ! Yet, when the great God of 
heaven threatens, what an atheistical unbelieving heart have I, that can be 
moved at the threatenings of a mortal man, that is but dust and ashes, and 
yet cannot be moved with the threatenings of the great God ! Consider 
also, if a man had been so kind and bountiful to me, if I should reward his 
kindness with unkindness, I should have been ashamed, and have covered 
my face with shame ; and yet how unkind have I been unto God, that hath 
been so kind to me, and yet I never a whit ashamed ! If a friend should 
have come to me, and I have given him no entertainment, what a shame 
were this ! But yet how often hath the Holy Ghost knocked at the door 
of my heart, and suggested many holy motions into me of mortification, 
repentance, and newness of life, yet notwithstanding I have given him the 
repulse, opposed the outward means of grace, and have thought myself un- 
worthy of it ; what a shame is this ! 

Thus, if we compare our carriage in earthly things with our carriage in 
heavenly, this will be a means to work upon our hearts, inwardly to humble 
ourselves. Thus was David abased ; for when Nathan came and told him 
of a rich man, who having many sheep, spared his own and took away a 
poor man's, which was all that he had ; when David considered that he 
had so dealt with Uriah, he was dejected and ashamed of his own courses. 
Let us labour to work our hearts to humility, into true sorrow, shame, true 
fear, that so we may have God to pity and respect us, who only doth regard 
a humble soul. Thus we have seen some directions how we may come to 
humble ourselves. 

Further, There is an order, method, and agreement in these reflected 
actions, when we turn the edge of our own souls upon ourselves and 



examine ourselves ; for the way that leads to rest is by the examination of 
ourselves. We must examine ourselves strictly, and then bring ourselves 
before God, judge and condemn ourselves ; for humiliation is a kind of 
execution. Examination leads to all the rest. So, then, this is the order 
of our actions ; there is examination of ourselves strictly before God, then 
indicting ourselves, after that comes judging of ourselves. 

Oh that we could be brought to these inward reflected actions, to examine 
indict, judge, and condemn ourselves, that so we might spare God a labour, 
and so all things might go well with us ! 

3. Now I come to the third thing I propounded, the motives to move us 
to get this humiliation. 

(1.) First, Let us consider of the gracious promises that are made to this 
disposition of humbling ourselves; as Isa. Ivii. 15, ' For thus saith he that is 
holy and excellent, he that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is the Holy 
One ; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of an humble 
and contrite spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to give life to 
them that are of a contrite heart.' So there is a promise that God will 
give grace to the humble. An example of mercy in this kind we have in 
Manasseh, who, though a very wicked man, yet because he humbled him- 
self, obtained mercy. Peter humbled himself, and David humbled himself, 
and both found mercy. And so likewise Josiah ; yea, and in James iv. 10, 
we are bid to ' humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and he will 
exalt us in due time.' There is the promise. Yea, every branch of humi-^ 
liation hath a promise. As confession of sins, if we confess and forsake 
our sins, we shall have mercy and find pardon. So those that judge them- 
selves shall not be judged. 

A humble heart is a vessel of all graces. It is a grace itself, and a vessel 
of grace. It doth better the soul and make it holy, for the soul is never 
fitter for God than when it is humbled. It is a fundamental grace that 
gives strength to all other graces. So much humility, so much grace. For 
according to the measure of humiliation is the measure of other grace, 
because a humble heart hath in it a spiritual emptiness. Humility emptieth 
the heart for God to fill it. If the heart be emptied of temporal things, 
then it must needs be filled with spiritual things ; for nature abhorreth 
emptiness ; grace much more. When the heart is made low, there is a 
spiritual emptiness, and what fills this up but the Spirit of God ? In that 
measure we empty ourselves, in that measure we are filled with the fulness 
of God. When a man is humbled, he is fit for all good; but when he is 
proud, he is fit for all ill, and beats back all good. God hath but two 
heavens to dwell in ; the heaven of heavens, and the heart of a poor humble 
man. The proud swelling heart, that is full of ambition, high conceits, and 
self-dependence, will not endure to have God to enter ; but he dwells largely 
and easily in the heart of an humble man. If we will dwell in heaven 
hereafter, let us humble ourselves now. The rich in themselves are sent 
' empty away ;' the humble soul is a rich soul, rich in God ; and therefore 
God regards the lowly and resists the proud. As all the water that is upon 
the hills runs into the valleys, so all grace goes to the humble. ' The moun- 
tains of Gilboa are accursed,' 2 Sam. i. 21. So there is a curse upon pride, 
because it will not yield to God. 

(2.) Again, All outward actions benefit other men; hut this inward action of 
humbling a mans self m,akes the soul itself good. 

(3.) An humble soul is a secure and safe soul; for a man that is not high, 
but of a low stature, needs not to fear falling. A humble soul is a safe 


soul ; — safe in regard of outward troubles ; for when we have humbled our- 
selves, God needs not follow us with any other judgment : safe, in regard 
of inward vexation or any trouble by God ; for when the soul hath 
brought itself low, and laid itself level as the ground, then God ceaseth 
to afHict it. Will the ploughman plough when he hath broken up the 
ground enough ? or doth he delight in breaking up the ground ? See 
what Isaiah saith to this purpose in chap, xxviii. 28. When God seeth 
that a man hath abased himself, he will not follow with any other judgment ; 
such a one may say to God, Lord, I have kept court in mine own conscience 
already, I have humbled and judged myself, therefore do not thou judge 
me ; I am ready to do whatsoever thou wilt, and to sufler what thou wilt 
have me. I have deserved worse a thousand times, but. Lord,, remember I 
am but dust and ashes. Thus God spares his labour when the soul hath 
humbled itself. But if we do not do this ourselves, God will take us in 
hand ; for God will have but one God, Now if we will be gods, to exalt 
ourselves, he must take us in hand to humble us, either first or last. And 
is it not better for us to humble ourselves than for God to give us up to the 
merciless rage and fury of men, for them to humble us, or to fall into the 
hands of God, who is a ' consuming fire' ? For when we accuse and judge 
ourselves, we prevent much shame and sorrow. What is the reason God 
hath given us up to shame and crosses in this world, but because we have 
not humbled ourselves ? What is the reason many are damned in hell ? 
Because God hath given them reason, judgment, and afiections, but they 
have not used them for themselves, to examine their ways, whether they 
were in the state of condemnation or salvation. They never used their 
afiections and judgment to this end, therefore God was forced to take them 
in hand. Well saith Austin, all men must be humbled one way or other ; 
either we must humble ourselves or God will ; * if we will do this ourselves, 
the apostle promiseth, we shall not be judged of the Lord, 1 Cor. xi. 31. 
But we do not these things as we should, because it is a secret action. We love 
to do things that the world may take notice of, but this inward humiliation 
can only be seen by God, and by our own consciences. Let these motives 
therefore stir us up to humble ourselves, for humbled we must be by one 
way or other. How many judgments might be avoided by humbling our- 
selves ! How many scandals might be prevented if we would judge our- 
selves ! What is the reason so many Christians fall into scandalous sins, 
whereby, provoking God's anger, they fall into the hands of their enemies, 
but because they spare themselves, and think this humbling themselves a 
troublesome action. Therefore to spare themselves, they run on. Be- 
cause they would not work this upon themselves, they grow to be in a des- 
perate state at last. Wherefore upon any occasion be humble, let us 
prepare ourselves to meet the Lord our God. When we hear but any noise 
of the judgments of God, we should humble ourselves, as good Josiah did ; 
when he did but hear of the threatenings against his land, it made him 
humble himself. 

Quest. But here it may be demanded, considering that wicked men do 
oftentimes humble themselves, being convinced in their consciences, and 
thereupon ashamed, 

4. How may we hwiv liohj from hypocritical humiliation? which is the 
last thing I propounded concerning humiliation, namely, the notes and marks 
whereby we may know true humiliation from false, which are these. 

Ans. 1. First, Hohj humiliation is toluntarij ; for it is a reflected action, 
* In ' Confessions ' repeatedly. — G. 


which comes from a man's self. It ends where it begins. Therefore Jo siah 
is said to humble himself. But, on the contrary, the humiliation of other 
men is against their will. False humiliation is not voluntary, but by force 
it is extorted from them. God is fain to break, crush, and deal hardly 
with them, which they grieve and murmur at. But the children oi Cxod 
have the Spirit of God, which is a free Spirit, that sets their hearts at 
liberty. For God's Spirit is a working Spirit, that works upon their hearts, 
and hereby they willingly humble themselves, whereas the wicked, wanting 
this Spirit of God, cannot humble themselves willingly, but are cast down 
aaainst their wills. For God can pluck down the proudest He can 
break Pharaoh's courage, who, though he was humbled, yet he did not 
humble himself. A man may be humbled, and yet not humble. But the 
children of God are to humble themselves, not that the grace whereby we 
humble ourselves is from ourselves ; but we are said to humble ourselves, 
when God doth rule the parts he hath given us, when he sets our wits 
and understanding on work to see our misery, and then our will and atiec- 
tion to work upon these. Thus we are said to humble ourselves when God 
works in us. An hypocrite God may humble and work by him. He may 
work by graceless persons, but he doth not work in them. But Gods 
children have God's Spirit in them, not only working m- them his own 
works, as he doth by hypocrites and sinful persons, but his Spirit works 
in them. So that here is the main difference between true humiliation 
and that which is counterfeit. The one is voluntary, being a reflected 
action, to work upon and to humble ourselves ; but the other is a forced 

humiliation. n 4.1 

2. Acrain, True humiliation is ever joined uith reformation. Humble tny- 
self and walk with thy God, saith the prophet : Micah vi. 8, ' He hath 
shewed thee, man, what he doth require of thee, to humble thyselt, and 
walk with thy God.' Now the humiliation of wicked men is never jomed 
with reformation. There is no walking with God. Josiah reformed him- 
self and his people to outward obedience, as much as he could, but he had 
not their hearts at command. 1 + i 

3. Acrain, Sin must appear bitter to the soul, else we shall never be truly 
humbled for it. There is in every renewed soul a secret hatred and loathing 
of evil, which manifests the soundness both of true humiliation and relor- 
mation, and is expressed in three things. «. . ^ 1 • +1, i f 

(1 ) In a serious purpose and resolution not to offend God m tHe least 
kind The drunkard must purpose to leave his drunkenness, and the swearer 
resolve between God and his own heart, to forsake his base courses, and cry 
mightily herein for help from above. 

h ) Secondly, There must be a constant endeavour to avoid the occasions 
and allurements of sin. Thus Job made a covenant with his eyes, that ' he 
would not look upon a maid,' Job xxxi. 1 ; and thus every unclean and 
filthy person should make a covenant with themselves against the sms wliicli 
they are most addicted unto. When they came to serve God, m Hosea, then 
' away with idols,' Hosea. xiv 8. So must we, when we look heavenward, 
cast from us all our sins whatsoever. ... f 

(3 ) Thirdly, There must be a hatred and loathing of sin m our conles- 
sions. We must confess it with all the circumstances, the time when, and 
place where. We must aggravate our offences, as David did : ' Against thee 
have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight ;' Ps. li. 4 ; and as the apostle : 
' I was a blasphemer, I was a persecutor,' I was thus and thus. He did 

* Qu. ' by ' ?— Ed. 


not extenuate his sin, and say, the rulers commanded me so to do ; but, 
' I persecuted the church' out of the wickedness of mine own heart. A true 
Christian will not hide his sins, but lay them open, the more to abase him- 
self before God. This aggravating of our sins will make them more vile 
unto us, and us more humble in the sight of them. True reformation of 
life is ever joined with an indignation of all sin, there is such a contrariety 
in the nature of a child of God against all evil. 

[1.]* We should therefore first hate sin universally ; not one sin, but 
every kind of sin, and that most of all which most rules in us, and which 
is most prevalent in our own hearts. A sincere Christian hates sin in 
himself most. We must not hate that in another which we cherish in 

[2. J We should hate sin the more, the nearer it comes to us, in our children 
and friends, or any other way. It was David's fault to let Absalom his son 
go unreproved in his wicked practices, and Eli for not correcting his sons. 
We see what came of it, even their utter overthrow. 

[3.] He that truly hates sin ivill not think much to be admonished and 
reproved uhen he errs. A man that hath a bad plant in his ground, that 
will eat out the heart of it, will not hate another that shall discover such an 
evil to him ; so if any one shall reprove thee for this or that sin, and thou 
hate him for it, it is a sign corruption is sweet to thee. 

Only this caution must be remembered, reproof must not be given with a 
proud spirit, but in a loving, mild manner, with desire of doing good. 
There is a great deal of self-love in some men, who, instead of hating sin in 
themselves and others, approve and countenance it, especially in great men, 
flattering them in their base humours, and fearing lest by telling them the 
truth they should be esteemed their enemies. 

[4.] Our hatred of sin may be discerned by our willinr/ness to talk of it. 
He that hates a snake, or toad, will flee from it ; so a man that truly abhors 
sin, will not endure to come near the occasions of it. What shall we say 
then of those that prostitute themselves to all sinful delights ? As hatred 
of sin is in our affection, so it will appear in our actions. Those that love 
to see sin acted did never as yet truly loathe it. 

It is a sign that we do not hate sin when we take not to heart the sing 
of our land. ' Woe is me that I am constrained to dwell in the tents of 
Kedar,' saith David ; * mine eyes gush out with tears because men keep 
not thy law/ Ps. cxx. 5. Lot's soul was vexed at the unclean conversation 
of the wicked, 2 Peter ii. 7. But, alas ! how do we come short of this ! 
The greatest number are so far from mourning for the abominations of the 
land, that they rather set themselves against God in a most disobedient 
manner, and press others to sin against him. Are magistrates of David's 
mind, to labour to cut off all workers of iniquity from the land ? Indeed, 
for small trifling things they will do a man justice, but where is the tender- 
ness of God's glory? Where are those that seek to reform idolatry, 
Sabbath- breaking, and profaneness amongst us ? Pity it is to see how 
many do hold the stirrup to the devil, by giving occasions and encourage- 
ments to others to commit evil. Do we hate sin, when we are like tinder, 
ready to receive the least motion to it, as our fashion-mongers, who trans- 
form themselves into every effeminate unbeseeming guise ? Shall we say 
that these men hate sin, which, when they are reproved for it, labour to 
defend it or excuse it, counting their pride but comeliness, their miserable 
covetousness but thirst, f and drunkenness only good fellowship ? 
* In margin here, ' Signs of a true hatred of sin.' — G. f Q^, ' thrift ' ? — Ed. 


To strengthen our indignation against sin the better, consider, 
1 The xujUness thereof, how opposite and distasteful it is to the Almighty, 
as appears in Sodom and in the old world. It is that for which God himsell 
hates his own creature, and for which he will say to the wicked at the day 
of judgment, ' Go, ye cursed, into everlasting lire,' Mat. xxv. 41. Sm is the 
cause of all those diseases and crosses that befall the sons of men. It hath 
its rise from the devil, who is the father of it, and whose lusts we do when- 
soever we offend God. . r. •, • i. 

There is not the least sin but it is committed against an mhnite majesty, 
yea, against a good God, to whom we owe ourselves and all that we have, 
who waits when you will turn to him and live for ever ; but if you despise 
his goodness, and continue still to provoke the eyes of his glory, is a 
terrible and revengeful* God, and ready every moment to destroy both body 
and soul in hell. , 

Sin is the bane of all comfort. That which we love more than our souls 
undoes us. It embitters every comfort, and makes that we cannot perform 
duties with spiritual life. Our very prayers are abominable to God so long 
as we Hve in known sin. What makes the hour of death and the day ot 
iudgment terrible but this ? ,,.-,,. i • xi. 

2 Ac^ain, Grow in the love of God. The more we delight m him, the 
more we shall hate whatsoever is contrary to him. In that proportion that 
we affect God and his truth we will abhor every evil way, for these go 
tocrether. Ye that love the Lord, hate the thing that is ill. The nearer 
we draw to him, the farther we are separated from everything beiow. 

3. And to strengthen our indignation against sin, we should c^nre our 
affections another way, and set them upon the right object. A Christian should 
consider. Wherefore did God give me this affection of love ? Was it to set 
it on this or that lust, or any sinful course ? Or hath he given me this 
affection of hatred that I should envy my brethren, and condemn the good 
way ? No, surely. I ought to improve every faculty of my soul to the 
dory of the giver, by loving that which he loves, and hating that which he 
hates. God's truth, his ways, and children, are objects worthy our love, 
and Satan with his deeds of darkness the fittest subjects of our indignation 

and hatred. ^ . , -, ■ ■ .i c •^\.r,.^ 

4 Fourthly, True humiliation proceeds from faith, and is m the taithtul 
not only when judgment is upon them, but before the judgment comes, 
which they foreseeing by faith, do humble themselves. True humiliation 
quakes at the threatenings, for the very frowns of a father will terriiy a 
dutiful child. As Josiah, when he did but hear of the threatenings against 
the land, he humbled himself in dust and ashes. ' He rent his clothes 
So true humiliation doth quake at the foresight of judgment, but the wicked 
never humble themselves but when the judgment is upon them. Carnal 
people are like men that, hearing thunder-claps afar off, are never a whit 
moved ; but when it is present over their heads, then they tremble, bo 
hypocrites care not for judgments afar off; as now when the church ot God 
is in misery abroad we bless ourselves, and think all is well. It is no thanKs 
for a man to be humbled when the judgment is upon him, for so Pharaon 
was, who yet, when the judgment was off, then he goes to his old bias 

^°Let us try our humiliation by these signs, whether we can willingly 

humble ourselves privately before God, and call ourselves to a reckomng; 

whether we add reformation of life to outward humiliation, when our heart 

* That is, = ' avenging.' — G. 



doth tell US that we live in such and such sins ; whether our hearts tremble 
at the threatenings, when we hear of judgments public or private. What 
is the ground that may deceive themselves ? They say, if any judgment 
come upon them, then they will repent, and cry to God for mercy ; and 
why should I deny myself of my pleasures of sin before ? Oh, this is but 
a forced humiliation, not from love to God, but love to thyself. It is not 
free, therefore thou mayest go to hell with it. Others defer off their 
repentance till it be too late. When they have any sickness upon them 
they will cry to God for mercy. This is but Ahab's and Pharaoh's humili- 
ation. It is not out of any love to God, but merely forced. It is too late 
to do it when God hath seized upon us by any judgment. Do it when he 
doth threaten, and now he hath seized upon the parts of the church abroad 
already ; therefore now meet thy God by repentance. 

5. A fifth difference between true humiliation and false is, that with tru« 
liumiliaiion is joined lioj^e, to raise up our souls with some comfort, else 
it is a desperation, not a humiliation. The devils do chafe, vex, and fret 
themselves, in regard of their desperate estate, because they have no hope. 
If there be no hope, it is impossible there should be true and sound humi- 
liation ; but true humiliation doth carry us to God, that what we have 
taken out of ourselves by humiliation, we may recover it in God. There- 
fore humility is such a grace, that though it make us nothing in ourselves, 
yet doth it carry us to God, who is all in all. Humiliation works between 
God and ourselves, and makes the heart leave itself, to plant and pitch 
itself upon God, and looks for comfort and assurance from him. And 
where there is not this there is no true humiliation. There is nothing 
more profitable in the world than humility, because, though it seem to have 
nothing, yet it carrieth the soul to him that fills all in all. Hence it is, 
that there is an abasing of ourselves for anj^thing that we have 'done amiss, 
from love to God and love to his people, but yet it is joined with hope. We 
know God to be a gracious God unto us, and therefore we humble our- 
selves, and are grieved for offending of him. 

6. A sixth difference between true humihation and false is this, That 
hypocrites are sorroirful for the judgment that is irpon them ; hut not for that 
which is the cause of the j}idgment, which is sin ; but the child of God, he 
is humbled for sin, which is the cause of all judgments. As good Josiah, 
when he heard read out of Deuteronomy the curses threatened for sin, and 
comparing the sins of his people with the sins against which the curses 
were threatened, he humbled himself for his sin and the sins of his people. 
For God's children know, if there were no iniquity in them, there should 
no adversity hurt them ; and therefore they run to the cause, and are 
humbled for that. Whereas the wicked, they humble themselves only 
because of the smart and trouble which they do endure. 

7. The last difference between true humiliation and false is this, that 
true humiliation is a tJiorough humiliation. Therefore it is twice repeated 
in this verse, ' thou didst humble thyself before God ; ' when thou heardest 
the words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, ' and 
humbledst thyself before me.' It is twice repeated in this verse, and after- 
ward expressed by ' rending of clothes,' and * tears.' It was thorough 
humiliation. For he dwelt upon the humbling of his own soul. So that 
the children of God thoroughly humble themselves, but the hypocrite, when 
he doth humble himself, it is not thoroughly. They count it a light matter. 
As soon as the judgment is off, they have forgotten their humiliation, as 
Pharaoh did. Many will heave a few sighs, and hang down the head like 



a bulrush for a time ; but it is, like Ephraim's morning dew, quickly gone. 
They have no sound and thorough humiliation. It is but a mere offer of 
humihation. Whereas the children of God, when they begin, they never 
cease working upon their own hearts with meditation, until they have 
brought their heart to a blessed temper, as we see in David, Ezra, Nehe- 
miah, and Daniel, how they did humble themselves. 

But why do God's children take pains in humbling themselves ? 

Partly because it must be done to purpose, else God will not accept it ; 
and partly because there is a great deal of hardness and pride in the best, 
and much ado before a man can be brought for to humble himself. There- 
fore we must labour for this. We see what ado there was before Job 
could be brought to humble himself. Yet Job must be humbled before 
there comes * one of a thousand' to comfort him, as Job xxxiii. 23. If a 
man be once thoroughly and truly humbled, he shall soon have comfort. 
By these marks we may know true humiliation from an humiliation coun- 

Quest. But here may arise another question, How may we know when 
we are humbled enough, or when we are grieved enough ? 

Ans. To this I answer, 1. That there is not the same measure of humilia- 
tion required in all. For those whom God did pick out for some great 
work, he doth more humble them than others, as he did Moses and Paul 
before he wrought the great work of converting the Gentiles. So David, 
before he came to be king, was a long time humbled. 

2. Again, There are others that have been greater sinners, and 7nore openhj 
wicked in their courses than others, and in them a greater measure of humi- 
liation is required. 

3. Again, There are others that are more tenderly hrour/ht np from child- 
hood, who have often renewed their repentance. These need not to be 
humbled so much as others ; for humiliation should be proportionable unto 
the sinful estate of the soul ; which because it difiers in divers men, in like 
manner their humiliation ought to differ. But to answer the question 
more directly, we are said to be humbled enough, 

1. First, When tre hare urovght our souls to a hearty grief that ire hare 
offended God, when we have a perfect and inward hatred of all sin, and 
when thou dost shew the truth of thy grief by leaving off thy sinful courses. 
So that, dost thou hate and leave thy sinful course ? Then thou art suffi- 
ciently humbled. Go away with peace and comfort, thy sins are forgiven 
thee. Therefore it is not a slight humiliation that will serve the turn, but 
our hearts must be wrought unto a perfect hatred and leaving of all sins ; 
for if this be not, we are not sufficiently humbled as yet. And when we 
find ourselves to hate and leave sin in some measure, then fasten our souls 
by faith, as much as may be, upon the mercy of God in Jesus Christ. For 
the soul hath two eyes, the one to look upon itself and our vileness, to 
humble us the more ; the other, to fasten upon the mercy of God in Christ, 
to raise up our souls. For if the whole soul were fastened upon its own 
misery and vileness, then there could not be that humiliation which ought 
to be, neither could we serve God with such cheerfulness ; therefore we 
must have our souls raised up to God's mercy. Now let us labour for the 
first, because the devil is so main an enemy unto it ; for he knows well 
enough, that so much as we are humble and go out of ourselves to God, 
and rest upon him, so much we stand impregnable against his temptations, 
that he cannot prevail against us ; and so much as we do not trust in 
God, but upon the creature, so much must we lie open to his snares. 


Therefore all his temptations tend to draw us to trust in the creature, to 
have a conceit of ourselves, and to draw our hearts from relying upon God. 
His first plot is always to make us rest in ourselves. Therefore let us 
labour to go out of ourselves, to see a vanity in ourselves, and a happiness 
in God, that so going out of ourselves, and relying upon God and his 
mercies, we may stand safe against Satan's temptations. 

Use. This should teach us to take heed of such affections as tend directly 
contrary to humiliation ; for how can it be but that those should be proud, 
that hold the doctrine of the Church of Rome, as, first, that we have no 
original sin in us, but it is taken away by baptism ; that we are able to fulfil 
the law fully in this life. This is presumptuous. Whereas Paul cries out 
after baptism, ' wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this 
body of death ! ' Rom, vii. 24. Nay, they can do more, namely, works of 
supererogation, whereby they merit heaven. How do these blow up the 
heart of man, and make it swell with pride ! This must needs make men 
very proud, to think that a man can merit by works. With such blasphe- 
mous opinions they have infected the world, and led captive millions of 
souls into hell. Therefore let this be a rule of discerning true religion ; 
for surely that is true religion which doth make us go out of ourselves ; 
that takes away all from ourselves and gives all the glory to God ; which 
makes us to plead for salvation by the mercy of God through the merits of 
Christ. But our religion doth teach us thus. Therefore it is the true re- 
ligion, and will yield us sound comfort at the last. Thus much for inward 
humiliation, the humbhng of ourselves, as Josiah did. 



But because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, 
when thou heardest his words against this jilace, and against the inhabitants 
thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and 
weep before me ; I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord. — 2 Chron. 
XXXlV. 27. 

As the waters issuing from the sanctuary, mentioned by the prophet Ezekiel, 
grew deeper and deeper; first to the ancles, then to the knees, and after to 
the loins, until it came to an overflowing river, so hath it fared with us in 
handling of this text; wherein, from tenderness of heart, we have waded 
deeper and deeper through the mysteries of humiliation in the inward man, 
until at length from thence we are broken forth to the outward expressions 
of Josiah's inward humiliation, his ' rending of his clothes,' and overflow- 
ing floods of ' tears ;' which sprung partly from his apprehension of rum 
at hand, to come upon God's sanctuary, and partly from the sorrow and 
sense of sin in himself and the people, as causes of his fear. 

But to come to the text now read in your hearing, ' And didst rend thy 
clothes, and weep before me,' here we have set down the outward expres- 
sion of Josiah's inward humiliation. 

For true humiliation shews itself as well outwardly as inwardly. _ Now, 
the outward expression of his inward affection is set down in two things : 

1. By rending of his clothes ; 2. By his weeping. 

No doubt but he did express his sorrow as well by words as by these 
gestures, although they be not here set down with the other ; for he might 
for the time be surprised with so great a measure of sorrow and grief, as 
could not be expressed presently at that instant, or we may conceive that 
for the time he was so thoroughly humbled, that he could not speak orderly. 
Wherefore God did regard and look more to his aflections and tears than 
to his words, for he rent his clothes and wept before God. As it is written 
of the poor publican, that he could not say much, and looked down with 
his eyes, saying, ' Lord, be merciful to me a sinner,' Luke xviii. 13 ; and 
as it was with the poor woman in the gospel who came to Christ weeping, 
and washed his feet with her tears, yet she said nothing, Luke vii. 38 ; 
and as when Christ, upon the cock's third crowing, looked upon Peter, we 



find not what he said, but that he went out and wept bitterly, Luke xxii. 
61, 62 ; so here, we may imagine Josiah's affection was too full of sorrow 
to speak distinctly and composedly ; for from a troubled soul can proceed 
nothing but troubled words ; from a broken heart comes broken language. 
But howsoever, likely it is that Josiah did speak somewhat ; for God saith, 
' I have even also heard thee.' But to leave this and come to the outward 
expressions here set down, let us learn somewhat from his rending of his 
clothes and weeping. 

* Rending of clothes' was a thing frequently used in old times, as we see 
in the Scriptures ; and it was a visible representation of the inward sorrow 
of the heart. Job rent his clothes, Job i. 20 ; his friends rent their clothes, 
Job ii. 12 ; Paul and Barnabas rent theirs. Acts xiv. 14 ; the high priest 
rent his clothes, being to accuse Christ, Mark xiv. 63 ; and Hezekiah rent 
his clothes when he heard the words of Rabshakeh, Isa. xxxvii. 1. Nay, 
this was a common action, and frequently used among the heathen also ; 
for they likewise, upon any disastrous accident, were used to rend their 
clothes ; as we read of a heathen king, that having his city invaded 
round about with enemies, rent his clothes.* So that it hath been the 
custom both of God's church and also of heathen, to rend their clothes. 
But what is the ground or reason of this ? The reason of such their rend- 
ing of clothes was, because that in their sorrow they thought themselves 
unworthy to wear any. They forgat all the comforts of this life ; as holy 
Josiah forgets his estate, his throne, his royal majesty, and crown. He 
looks up to the great God, and considers duly whom he stood under, and 
the miserable estate of the people, over whom he was governor ; and there- 
upon he rends his clothes, shewing hereby that he was unworthy of those 
ornaments wherewith he was covered. We know that clothes have divers 
uses ; as, 

1. First, For necessity, to cover our nakedness, and to preserve from the 
injuries of the weather. 

2. Secondly, Clothes are given for distinction of sexes and degrees: to know 
the great man from the mean, the woman from the man. 

3. And lastly. They serve for ornaments to honour our vile flesh, which is 
so base that it must fetch ornaments from base creatures. Now, so far as 
they served for ornaments, he rent his clothes, as thinking himself unworthy 
of any garments ; for he being in grief doth rend his clothes, thinking with 
himself, why should I stand upon clothes and outward things to cover me ? 
God is angry. Till he be appeased I will take no pleasure in any earthly 
thing. Therefore, apprehending the wrath of God, he rent his clothes. 
Well, this is but an outward expression, and therefore it must proceed from 
inward truth. This rending of clothes was a national ceremony, which 
seeing we have not used amongst us, we must rend our hearts with grief. 
For the rending of clothes shews the rending of the heart before, without 
which there is no acceptance with God ; for the rending of the clothes 
without the rending of the heart is but hypocrisy ; as Joel ii. 13, he says, 
' Rend your hearts, and not your garments, ye hypocrites.' So that out- 
ward expressions of sorrow are no further good, than when they come from 
inward grief and aifection. Now, when both these are joined together it is 
a comely thing ; for wherein stands comeliness but when all the parts of 
our body do agree in proportion, when one hmb is not bigger than another? 
So it is uncomely and an hypocritical thing for a man to have all outward 

* Query, Is this an allusion to the Sultan — the 'raging Turk' of the Puritans — 
in his anguish at the siege of Scodra? Cf. among others Trapp on Ezra ix. 3. — G, 


expression and yet to have no inward grief. Tiiis is but acting of humilia- 
tion, when we hang down the head like a bulrush, and the heart is not sound. 
But outward expressions are good when the heart is grieved to purpose ; 
when they proceed from inward humiliation. 

Quest. And why ought this to be ? 

Ans. Because both body and soul have a part in the action of sin. 
Therefore it is needful that they should be joined in humiliation for sin. 
There is no sin of the body but the soul hath part in it, nor any sin in the 
soul but the body hath part in it. Therefore both body and soul should 
be humbled together. Labour then to have outward expressions and shows 
of sorrow come from a true sorrowful heart. There be two things in the 
religious actions of men. 

1. There is the outward action or expression. 

2. There is the inward, which gives life to the other. 

The outward is easy, and subject to hypocrisy. It is an easy matter to 
rend clothes and to force tears, but it is a hard matter to afflict the soul. 
The heart of man taketh the easiest ways, and lets the hardest alone, 
thinking to please God with that. But God will not be served so ; for he 
must have the inward aftections, or else he doth abhor the outward actions. 
Therefore let us as well labour for humble hearts as humble gestures. We 
must rend our hearts and not our clothes, when we come into the presence 
of God. We must labour, as to shew humility, so to have humility, that so 
we be not like hypocrites, who make show of a great deal of devotion in 
carriage, but yet have none in heart ; a great deal of outward humiliation, 
whenas they have none within. 

The papists are wicked and erroneous in all their devotions, especially in 
the point of justification, and in other points of the worship of God ; for is 
it not a superstitious error, to think to please God with outward observations, 
when they do not come from inward truth ? Their religion is all an outside, 
consisting merely of outward performances. But true devotion, the Scrip- 
ture teacheth, cometh from a heart judicially understanding the case of its 
own self ; considering what a great God it hath to deal withal, a God full 
of glory and majesty. Doth God love blind sacrifices ? No. Devotion 
must come from the heart, and spread itself from thence into the counte- 
nance and carriage. For then it is true, when the outward expression doth 
shew the inward disposition. 

Use. This reproves the negligence of people in these times. Where is their 
inward humiliation ? Nay, where is their outward humiliation ? In popery, 
there is an acting of humiliation. They whip themselves in their bodies, 
and other such outward fooleries and gestures they have in their hypocri- 
tical devotions. Thus do they in some sort humble themselves. But how 
few are there amongst us that humble themselves in apprehension of their 
own misery, who yet, if they look to their own persons, have cause enough ! 
Yea, and how few are there that are humbled for the miseries of the church 
abroad ! Where shall we find a mourning soul ? 

Well, seeing it is not a custom amongst us to rend our clothes, yet let 
us make conscience of being proud in apparel ; for it is a wicked and a 
fearful thing when men will regard some wicked and foolish fashion, and 
set more by it than by God's favour, threatenings, and judgments abroad. 
Many there are that, instead of rending their clothes, come into God's 
house to shew their bravery ; to see and to be seen. Where they should 
most of all humble themselves, there they come to shew their pride, even 
before God. Whereas they should come to hear the voice of the great God 


of heaven, and stand in his presence, who is a * consuming fire.' Before 
whom the very angels cover their faces and the earth trembles, they, contrari- 
wise, come to outface and provoke him with their pride. We see Josiah, 
though he were a king, he rent his clothes, forgot all his bravery, and 
considers himself not so much a king over the people, over whom God had 
Bet him, as a subject to God. Wherefore, though, as I said, the custom of 
rending of clothes be not used in our church, yet let us ever make con- 
science of rending our hearts, and so to make our peace with God, as this 
good king did. It follows ; — 

' And weptest before me.' 

In which words is set down the second outward expression of Josialis 
inward humiliation, which is * weeping.' This came nearer to him than rend- 
ing of clothes, for it touched his body. Hence, in a word, observe, 

Doct. 1. That the body and soid must join together in the action of humilia- 
tion, for the soul and body go together in the acting of sin, therefore they 
must go together in humiliation. As they were both made by God, and 
redeemed by Christ, so they sin and practise good together. Now I will 
shew three ways wherein the soul and body have communion one with 
another, whereby it may appear how reasonable and fitting a thing it is 
they should be both humbled together. 

1. First, The soul and body have communion together by way of impres- 
sion or information ; for sensible things have an impression upon the senses, 
and so come into the soul ; for nothing comes into it but through the 
senses of the body ; because, though the soul may imagine golden moun- 
tains, and things that it never saw, yet the working of the soul depends 
upon the body, for the body informs it of all outward objects. As the 
body is beholding to the soul for the ruling and guiding of it, so the soul 
is beholding to the body for many things ; as now in the very sacrament, 
God helps the soul with the senses ; Christ, as it were, in the sacrament 
enters through the senses more lively than in the preaching of the word, 
for there he enters in by the ears, but in the sacrament he is seen, tasted, 
handled, felt. So that the soul and body have communion together by way 
of information. 

2. Secondly, The soul and body have communion together by way of 
temptation ; for the soul standing in need of many outward things which 
are pleasing and delightful, and having sympathy with the body, it is led 
away by the body. Outward objects are pleasing to the senses of carnal 
men. Now these passing through the senses into the soul, it is led away, 
and so they become a dangerous temptation. 

3. Thirdly, The soul and the body have communion together, both in 
sinful and in good actions, by iray of subjection or execution ; for God hath 
made the body, with the parts thereof, to be the instruments and weapons 
of the soul. The body is a house wherein the soul is kept. It is a shop 
for the soul. Now the soul useth the body, with the members thereof, as 
instruments or weapons, either to honour God or dishonour him. The 
wicked fight against God with all the members of their body, with their 
eyes, tongue, feet, hands. Now the body having thus a part in sin, as 
well as the soul, therefore it is necessary that the body and soul should 
join together in humiliation. 

Caution. Here we must take heed of a notable sleight of the devil in 
popery. The papists think the body only in fault for sin, and therefore 
they humble and afllict their bodies for it, while they pufi" up their soul 


with pride, a conceit of merit and satisfaction. Tliey are falsely humble 
and truly proud, while they afflict the body and omit the soul. They are 
falsely humbled, because they humble their body only ; but truly proud, 
because they think by afflicting and humbling their bodies to merit. But 
let us take heed of this gross error, and remember to let both soul and 
body join in the work. 

Doct. 2. The second thing here to be noted is, that ivhen God ivill afflict 
or humble a man, it is not a kingdom that ivill save him. As Josiah, though 
he were a monarch, — for he was an absolute monarch, — yet if God threaten, 
his kingdom can do him no good. If God will abase men, whether they 
be his children or enemies, it is not a kingdom can protect them. When 
God shewed Belshazzar the handwriting upon the wall, he could take no 
comfort in anything, Dan. v. 5 ; yea, his dear children, if he shew but 
tokens of his displeasure against them, though they be kings, as Josiah was, 
yet he can humble them. If God roar, it is not their greatness can keep 
them ; if not now, yet he will make them to tremble hereafter. 

Doct. 3. The third thing here that we learn from the example of Josiah, 
being a king, is, T/iat tears and mounting for sin, when it comes from inward 
grief, is a temper u-ell befitting any man. It is a carriage befitting a king. 
It is not unbeseeming any, of what sex or degree soever. It is no womanish 
or base thing. When one hath to deal with God, he must forget his estate 
and take the best way to meet with God. This is evident by many instances, 
for David, though a man of war, yet when he had to deal with God he 
watered his couch with his tears, Ps. vi. 6. So Hezekiah, though a great 
king, yet he humbled himself, Isa. xxxviii. 1, seq. Nay, our blessed 
Saviour himself did it * with strong cries and tears,' Heb. v. 7, when he 
had to deal with God. 

Use. This serves for the justification of this holy abasement and humbling 
of ourselves. When we have to deal with God, then all abasement is little 
enough. ' I will be yet more vile than thus,' saith holy David, 2 Sam. 
vi. 22. So let us say when we have to deal with God ; I will be yet more 
vile, and so cast ourselves down before the Lord. AH expression of devo- 
tion is little enough, so it be without hypocrisy. Yet I pray give me leave 
once again to give warning unto you concerning outward actions, for most 
have conceived wrong of devotion and humiliation. They think that devo- 
tion is only in outward actions ; as in outward act to hear a little, to read, 
confer, or pray a little, whereas in truth these outward acts do only make 
up the body of devotion, which, without the soul, namely, the inward reli- 
gious affection, looking unto God, is no better than a dead carrion. Our 
outward expression must come from the apprehension of the goodness, 
mercy, and justice of God, before whom the very angels veil their faces. 
It is not outward devotion that will serve the turn, as to come to the church 
with this bare conceit and forethought ; I will go pray, and kneel, and 
express all outward carriage, in the meantime neglecting to stir up the soul 
to worship God with these or like thoughts ; I will go to the place where 
God is, where his truth is, where his angels are, to hear that word whereby 
I shall be judged at the last day. Therefore let all holy actions come from 
within first, and thence to the outward man. Let us work upon our hearts 
a consideration of the goodness, justice, majesty, and mercy of God, and 
then let there be an expression in body, such as may bring men off from 
their sins ; for else there is a spirit of superstition that will draw men far 
from God in seeming services, conceiving that God will accept of outward 
and formal expressions only. Well, we see that weeping and mourning 


for sins is a carriage not unbeseeming for a king. Therefore it is a 
desperate madness not to humble ourselves and be abased, now we have to 
deal with God. Your desperate atheists of the world will not tremble at 
threatenings, nor humble themselves till death comes, which humbles them 
and makes them tremble ; whereas, on the contrary, that soul which, feeling 
the wrath of God, humbles itself betimes, and trembles at threatenings, 
that soul, I say, — when the great judgment of death comes, and appearance 
before God, — looks death in the face with comfort ; whereas your desperate 
atheists, that can now scorn God, swear at every word, and blaspheme 
God to his face ; let God but shew his displeasure, they tremble and quake 
upon any noise of fear. Therefore when we have to deal with God, it is 
wisdom, and the ground of all courage, to humble and abase ourselves with 
fear, as Josiah did although he were a king. 

' And thou didst weep before me.' 

His tender heart did melt itself into tears. In the first clause of the 
verse you have his tender heart set down, and here we have the melting of 
the tender heart. There we have the cloud, here we have the shower. 
Therefore I will speak something of the original of tears. We know that 
tears are strained from the inward parts, through the eyes ; for the under- 
standing first conceiveth cause of grief upon the heart, after which the heart 
sends up matter of grief to the brain, and the brain being of a cold nature, 
doth distil it down into tears ; so that if the grief be sharp and piercing, 
there will follow tears after from most. But to come to the particulars ; 
we see the provoking cause of tears, from without, in Josiah, was the danger 
of his kingdom, hearing the judgment of God threatened against his country 
and place. "Whence, for the instruction of magistrates, I will enforce this 

Doct. 4. That it concerns magistrates above all others, to take to heart any 
danger whatsoever, that is upon their people ; for as kings are set above all 
other people in place, so they should be above them in goodness and grace. 
They ought, above all others, to take to heart any judgment, either upon 
them already, or feared ; as good Josiah did, whom, while he looked not 
so much to himself and his own good, as to that state whereof he was king, 
the very threatenings of judgment against it, made to express his grief with 
tears. The bond that knits the king to the people, and the people to the 
king, requires this ; for kings are heads, and shepherds over the people. 
Now the shepherd watcheth over his flock ; the head is quickly sensible of 
any hurt of the body ; all the senses are provident for the body. So it 
should be with all great persons in authority. They should cherish the 
good estate of the subjects as their own ; for thej' are committed to their 
care. And even as the head doth care for the body, and forecast for it, so 
those that are in authority should forecast for any good to the body of the 
commonwealth. An excellent example of this we have in holy David ; who, 
when there was a judgment coming upon his people. Lord, saith he, let 
the judgment come upon me and my father's house ; what have these sheep 
done?' 2 Sam. xxiv. 17. And surely such magistrates as are tenderly 
affected with the case of those under them, shall lose nothing by it ; for 
the people likewise will carry a tender affection towards them again. As 
we see, when the people went to fight against Absalom, they would not let 
David go with them, but they said to him, ' Thou art worth ten thousand 
of us,' 2 Sam. xviii. 3 ; that is, they had rather that ten thousand of them 
should die in the battle, than that David should have any hurt come to 


him ; so he lost nothing foi' his love and affection towards the people, for 
they shewed the like love to him in his distress. So likewise when Josiah 
was dead, the people wept largely for him (for with him perished all the 
glory of that flourishing kingdom), as we may read in the story, 2 Chron. 
XXXV. 24, 25, compared with Zech. xii. 11. They mom-ned for him with 
an exceeding great mourning, in Hadadrimmon, in the valley of Megiddo. 
So that there is no love lost between the magistrate and the people ; for 
if the magistrate be tenderly affected to them, the people will likewise 
weep for him again, and lament his case in his distress. But now to 
come to a more general instruction, we will leave speaking of Josiah as 
king, and take him into consideration as an holy man, and make him a 
pattern unto us all, of whatsoever civil condition we be ; and so we learn 
this point, 

Doct. 5. That it is the duty of every Christian to take to heart the threaten- 
ings of God against the place and pieople where he doth Jive ; to take to heart 
the afflictions and miseries of the church and commonwealth, the grievances 
of others as well as his own. The mourning and weeping of Josiah was 
for the estate of the church, when he heard the judgment threatened against 
the place and inhabitants thereof. There be tears of compassion for our- 
selves and for others. There were both of them in Josiah ; for no doubt 
but he wept for himself and his own sins, and over and above his own had 
special tears of compassion for his people. Thus then it becomes a Chris- 
tian that will have the reward of Josiah, to abase his heart as he did for 
the estate of the church. Good Nehemiah took to heart the grief of his 
country. The joy of his own preferment did not so much glad him, as 
the grief for his nation the Jews cast him down. What joy can a true 
heart have, now the church of God is in affliction ? We are all of one 
house. When one part of the house is a-fire, the other part had need to 
look to itself. There were many things wrought upon the heart of Josiah, 
which caused him to weep ; so there are many causes should move us, as 
the seeing of the sins that are committed in the land ought to make us 
grieve, and to express our grief one way or other. And the love of Christ, 
were it in us, would make us mourn ; as when we hear God blasphemed, 
and his name dishonoured, and when we see the people bent to idolatry ; 
how can this but break even a heart of stone, nay, a gracious heart will 
mourn and weep for the judgment of God upon wicked men, considering 
them as men, and as the creatures of God. Thus Christ wept for the 
wicked Jews in Jerusalem, though they were his enemies : ' Jerusalem, 
Jerusalem,' &c., Luke xix. 41 ; and so good Jeremiah, though he were ill 
used, and exceedingly abused by the people, yet he saith, * Oh that my head 
were water, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and 
night for them,' Jer. ix. 1. Though they had wronged, persecuted, and 
counted him a contentious fellow, only because he taught the truth of God ; 
yet such was the affection of tender-hearted Jeremiah, that he desired that 
be might weep day and night for them. But continual weeping must have 
a lasting spring affording continual issues of tears, which Jeremiah not find- 
ing in himself (such is the dryness of every man's heart, that it is soon 
emptied of tears), and thereupon fearing he should not weep enough, he 
doth earnestly desire it, and if hearty wishes may obtain, he would have it 
to be supplied with a plentiful measure of tears in his lamentation for the 
ensuing calamity of his people : ' that mine head were a well of water, 
and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the 
slain of the daughter of my people ! ' 



Quest. But why did not Jeremiah rather pray that they had a fountain of 
tears to weep for themselves ? 

Aus. Because he, knowing the hardness of their hearts, thought it to no 
end to entreat them to weep for themselves. Their hearts were harder 
than the nether millstone. They never desired it, yet he weeps for them. 
Thus we see how godly men have been formerly affected, and [that] it is 
our duty even to weep and mourn for the very wicked. We have matter 
enough of lamentation and weepings at this day, if we look abroad ; and 
at home, if we look to judgments felt and feared, we have cause to weep, 
before the decree come out against us. Therefore we should meet God 
beforehand. It is no thank for a man to be humbled when the judgment 
is come upon him ; but when we can weep before the judgment is come, it 
is a sign of faith. Happy were we if faith could make us do that which 
sense makes wicked men to do. If the believing of the judgment before 
it come would make us seek unto God, Oh how God would love such a 
one ! This should teach us every one to mourn ; and indeed a Christian 
soul cannot but do it, and that for divers reasons. 

1. First, Because of that si/m})athi/ between the Head and the members. A 
Christian hath the spirit of Christ, who takes to heart the miseries of the 
church. Now, can that spirit of Christ be in any, and he not affected as 
Christ in heaven is affected ? Surely no. 

2. Again, It must needs be so in rer/ard of the cojnmunion ivhich is between 
the members of the body. "We are all a part of one mystical body, whereof 
Christ is the head. What member can he be of this body that doth not 
take to heart the miseries of the other members ? There is want of life 
where there is no sense of misery. 

3. Thirdly, Where there is true grace there will be weeping and mourn- 
ing for the church, in regard of the insolencij of the church's enemies and their 
blasphemous speeches. Where is now their God ? their religion ? 
What is now become of their Eeformation ? What child can hear the 
reproach and dishonour of God his Father without bowels of compassion ? 

4. Again, A gracious man will weep in regard of the danger of not mourn- 
ing ; for by not mourning we have a kind of guilt lying upon us, for we 
make the sins and miseries of the church our own, as Paul tells the Corin- 
thians, reproving them for not mourning, 1 Cor. v. 2. Therefore as we 
are a part of the body, so we must have a part of the shame and grief. 
Again, God hath promised to mark and single out all those that mourn for 
the sins of the time ; therefore, on the contrary, those that do not mourn 
are in a dangei'ous estate, Ezek. ix. 4. 

5. Again, We must add reformation unto lamentation, else the whole 
church and commonwealth is in danger. If Achan be not sought out and 
punished, the whole state is in danger, and lies open to the wrath of God, 

For these reasons we ought to take to heart the sins and miseries of the 
times ; for the Spirit of God is in every Christian, that will not suffer him 
otherwise to be, than to weep and mourn for his own sins, and for the sins 
and miseries of others. 

Use 1. If this be so, what will become of those that take not to heart nor 
mourn for the miseries of the church ? that judge not aright of the poor, 
but censure the judgment of the afflicted, add affliction to the afflicted and 
misery to the miserable ? What shall we say to those that are so far from 
helping God, that they help the enemies of God, and are grieved at the 
heart to hear any cause of comfort on the church's part ? whose hearts it 
doth joy to hear of any overthrow on the church's side ? Such false hearts 


there are, and many that are glad of the sins of others, thinking thereby 
to hide their own wicked courses. These men are far from mourning. 
Let our souls also be far from entering into their secrets. 

Use 2. If this be so, that holy men ought to take to heart and weep for 
the judgments of the commonwealth, both felt and feared, and also for the 
judgment of God upon the churches abroad, then 

Quest. How may we get this weeping and mourning for others ? I 

Ans. 1. First, Bemove the impediments that hinder ; as, first, a hard and 
stony heart, which is opposite to tenderness. Josiah had a melting heart, 
and therefore it was soon dissolved into tears. Our hearts are worse than 
brass or stone, for workmen can work upon them ; but nothing will work 
upon the hard heart of man. All the judgments in the world will not work 
upon it ; for all the Israelites saw the judgments of God in Egypt, and all 
his mercies and blessings unto them in the wilderness, yet it would not 
• work upon them, because they had hard hearts. Therefore let us get a 
good spring of tears, that is, a soft and tender heart, and let us beg it of 
God, for it is his promise to give us tender hearts ; and then there will be 
an easy expression of it in the outward man. 

2. The second. Let us beware of the love of earthly things, and get a heart 
truly loving towards God ; for love is compared to fire ; and fire, among 
many other properties it hath, melts the gold, and makes it pliable. Heat 
is the organ of the soul, whereby it doth anything, and the instrument of 
nature. So spiritual heat, a warm soul, warmed with the love of God and 
of our Christian brethren, will make the heart pliable, and melt into tears. 
Therefore get a loving heart, filled with love to God and Christian brethren, 
that we may mortify self-love, which dries up the soul. There can be no 
melting in such a self-loved soul. Let us therefore labour for spiritual 
love, to cross and subdue carnal self-love. It is this blessed heat that 
must send forth this heavenly water of tears ; it is the spirit of love that 
must yield this distillation from the broken heart ; this works all heavenly 
affection in us. Therefore Christ compriseth all the commandments under 
love. And indeed that is all. 

3. Thirdly, If we would have our souls fit to grieve, let us be content to 
see as much as we can, with our own eyes, the miseries of others. The best 
way to weep is to enter into the house of mourning, and set before our 
eyes the afflictions of others. The very sight of misery is a means to 
make the soul weep. And let us be willing to hear that which we cannot 
see ; as Nehemiah was content to hear, nay, to inquire, concerning the 
church abroad ; and when he heard that it was not well with them, it 
made him weep. Every man will cry, What news ? But where is the 
man, when he hears of the news beyond the seas, that sends up sighs to 
God ? prayer, that he would take pity upon his church ? It is a good way 
to use our senses, to help our souls to grieve. 

4. Again, Let us read [of] the estate of God's church, what it hath been 
from the beginning of the world ; what miseries God's children have en- 
dured in former ages by reason of war and the Hke, that so we may work 
grief upon our own hearts. We have always matter of grief while we are 
in this world ; if we look abroad, we shall find matter of mourning. And 
surely we should labour to mourn if we desire to be blessed. For * blessed 
are they that mourn : they shall be comforted,' Mat. v. 4. 

5. Fifthly, That we may get this weeping and mourning, let us ivork this 
tender affection jipon our own hearts. The soul hath a facutly to work upon 


itself. Therefore let us shame ourselves for our own deadness, dryness, 
and spiritual barrenness this way, that we can yield no sighs, no tears for 
God, for his church and glory. Let us reason thus with our souls : If I 
should lose my wife, or child, or my estate, this naughty heart of mine 
would weep and be grieved ; but now there is greater cause of mourning 
for myself and the church of God, and yet I cannot grieve. Augustine 
eaith he could weep for her that killed herself out of love to him, but he 
could not weep for his own want of love to God.* We have many that 
will weep for the loss of friends, wealth, and such like things, but let them 
lose God's favour, be in such an estate there is but one step between them 
and hell, they are never grieved nor moved at it. Therefore, seeing they 
do not weep for themselves, let us weep for them. Can we weep when we 
see a man hurt in his body, and ought we not much more for the danger 
of his soul ? Therefore let us work this sorrow upon our hearts. Now, 
we are to receive the sacrament, which is a feast, and therefore must be 
eaten cheerfully. The passover was a banquet, and therefore to be eaten 
with joy, but withal it was used to be eaten with sour herbs. So must it be 
in this blessed banquet which God hath provided for our souls. There 
must be sorrow as well as joy. It is a mixed action, and therefore it must 
be eaten with sour herbs, presenting to the eyes of our mind the object of 
the old Adam ; thinking upon the vileness of our nature, that have such 
filthy speeches, disobedient actions, such rebellious thoughts in us. Great 
need have I of the mercy and favour of God to look upon such a defiled soul 
as I am. And also, having in the eyes of our soul Christ crucified, look 
upon Christ, which is crucified in the sacrament, sacramentally. What was 
that which broke the body of Christ ? Was it not sin ? That sin which I so 
often cherish, this pride, this envy, unbelief, and hypocrisy, this covetous- 
ness of mind was that which put Christ into such torment. It was not the 
nails, but my sins. The sacrament must work upon our hearts so as to 
work grief in us. We must weep as the people did for Josiah, according 
as God hath promised we should do. It is said, Zech. xii. 10, ■■■ They shall 
look on him whom they have pierced by their sins, and weep and mourn 
for him as one that mourneth for his only son.' So then, the sacrament is 
not only a matter of joy and thanks, but a matter of sorrow. Therefore, if 
we would joy in the sacrament, let us first be humbled for sin, and then joy 
in it afterwards. 

OhJ. But here it might be objected. Are we not bid for to rejoice always ? 
and always to be thankful? 1 Thes. v. 16. Then how can these agree ? 
for weeping and mourning are contrary to thanksgiving and joy. 

Ans. To this I answer, that the estate of a Christian in this life is a 
mixed estate, both inward and outward ; his outward estate and the inward 
disposition of the soul is mixed. Therefore, having this mixed estate, our 
carriage must [be] answerable ; as we have always cause of mourning and 
rejoicing both from that in us and from without us, therefore a Christian 
ought to rejoice always, and in some measure to mourn always. As, for 

A Christian hath cause of mourning within him when he looks upon his 
sinful nature and the sins which he doth daily commit, yet notwithstanding, 
at the same time, there is cause of joy, and great reason to bless God, when 
he considers that God hath pardoned his sins in Christ. Thus the apostle 
did, Rom. vii. 24 ; when he looked upon himself and his own vileness, he 
cries out, * wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this 
* Augustine on the death of his mother Monica. — G. 


body of death ! ' yet for all this, at the same time he rejoiceth and blesseth 
God : * I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord, who hath freed me 
from the law of sin and of death.' Thus, you see, we have always in 
respect of ourselves both cause of joy and mourning, therefore we must do 
both. So have we in like manner continual causes both of joy and sorrow 
from without us, if we look to the chui-ch of God : of joy, in regard there 
is a God in heaven who hath an eye to his church, who pitieth it and ten- 
dereth* it as the apple of his eye ; that takes to heart the afflictions of it ; 
that will be glorious in the midst of the troubles of his people, by uphold- 
ing, comforting, and turning all to the best for them ; — of sorrow also, in 
respect of the miseries under which the church of God doth groan, of which 
we are bound to take notice, and so to weep with them that weep, Isa. 
xxii. 12 ; Amos vi. 6 ; Eom. xii. 15. You see the rare mixture of joy and 
sorrow in a Christian, whereby he is made capable of this great privilege, 
as neither to be swallowed up of grief, because that his sorrow proceeds 
from a heart where there is cause of joy, nor to lose himself in excessive 
joy, because he always sees in himself cause of sorrow. Now, as it is to 
be seen in other mixtures that there is not at all times an equal quantity or 
portion of each particular thing to be mingled, but now more of the one, 
and at another time more of the other, according as the cause doth vary, 
so is it in this mixture of joy and sorrow for ourselves and for others ; 
Bometimes joy must abound with the causes of it, and sometimes sorrow 
with its causes doth superabound. It will be worth our inquiry, therefore, 
to know when to joy most, and when to weep most, which we shall know 
by God's call in outward occasions, and by the spirit of discretion within 
us, which will guide us. For God hath given his children a spirit of dis- 
cretion, that will teach them when to joy and when to weep most. As God 
calls to mourning now in these times that the church of God is in misery, 
as he calls for sighs for the afflictions of Joseph, so the spirit of discretion 
within us doth tell us what to do. 

Quest. Yet here may be a question, How shall we know when to cease 
and leave off mourning ? for the soul is a finite thing, and cannot dwell 
upon one action always, because it hath many things to do ; and therefore 
it cannot always mourn nor always rejoice. 

Ans. To this I answer, that we have mourned enough, and discharged 
our duty sufficiently therein, when we have overcome our hearts, and brought 
them to a temper of mourning, and have complained before God, spread 
the ill of the times before him, and entreated pity from him, having poured 
out ourselves in prayer, though short, yet effectual. When we have this 
done, then we have discharged our duty in mourning, and may turn to other 
occasions as God doth require of us ; for when we have mourned and wept, 
then we must look upon causes of rejoicing and thanksgiving. We must 
always remember so to mourn and weep that yet notwithstanding, looking 
upon God's blessing upon us both in kingdom, state, and our own particular 
persons, we may be excited to thankfulness ; for we must not always be 
sullen, looking upon the evil, but casting our eyes upon the good things we 
do enjoy, we must provoke ourselves to be thankful. Even as men that 
have their eyes dazzled will look upon some green colour to recover their 
sight again, so when we have wrought upon our souls and brought them to 
mourn, then to help and raise them up, we ought to look upon causes of 
joy and thankfulness. We have cause of thankfulness when we consider 
that many churches in France and other places are invaded by enemies, 
* That is, ' guardeth.'— G. 



oppressed with cruelty, and deprived of liberty, while yet we enjoy the 
liberty and free passage of the gospel, being freed from the destruction of 
war and pestilence, which devoureth so many that it makes the land to 
mourn. He continueth to us liberty to hear the word, and gives us many 
blessings which others have not. Nay, we have cause to bless God for 
freeing us from that terriblest judgment of all judgments, — which makes both 
church and commonwealth to mourn, — because he doth not suffer us to fall 
into the hands of man, but takes us into his own hand to correct. It is 
God's infinite mercy that he doth not humble us by our enemies, but takes 
us into his own hand. Therefore let us not provoke him, lest he give us 
up to the hands of our merciless enemies, which is a terrible judgment. 
We had better an hundred times meet him by repentance, and cast our- 
selves into his hands, for then we have only to deal with a merciful God ; 
but when we are to deal with merciless men that scorn the gospel, then we 
have both God and them to deal with, which doubles our affection. 

Therefore let us mourn, seeing we have cause, for ourselves and the 
estates of others ; but yet let us be thankful, for if we would be more 
thankful for God's benefits, we should have them longer continued. For, 
as prayer begs blessings, so thanksgiving continues them. As the best 
way to obtain good things is prayer and mourning, so the best way to pre- 
serve them is thanksgiving and rejoicing. So, then, we have plainly seen 
that Christians should not always be dumpish and look sourly, but they 
must as well rejoice and be thankful, as mourn and weep. 

Quest. 1. But here, ere I proceed, I must answer some cases of con- 
science. As, first. What shall we say to those souls that cannot weep for 
the sins and miseries of the church, and therefore complain for the want 
of it? 

Secondly, What shall we say to that soul that can weep, but more for 
outward than for spiritual things ? 

Sol. 1. To the first I answer briefly, that we must not speak friar-like of 
tears, and never know from whence they come. But when we speak of 
weeping, we must always understand that tears are no further good than 
when they spring from sorrow and love within, than when they proceed 
from inward hatred to sin, and from fear and love to the church of God. If 
this be in a man, the matter is not much for tears. There may be weeping 
without true sorrow, as there was in Esau for the blessing, Gen. xxvii, 38 ; 
and so the Jews, they could weep and howl upon their beds when there was 
a famine, yet there was no sound sorrow in them. 

And, on the contrary, there may be true sorrow without weeping, yea, 
and such may it be that there can be no weeping, because their sorrow may 
be so great that it is rather an astonishment than a weeping. In a fresh 
wound in the body, at the first there is not such pain felt nor the blood 
Been, because the part is astonied only ; so the soul for a time may be 
in such an astonishment and grief that there may be no expression of tears. 
Again, the soul doth follow the temperature of the bod3^ Some are of a 
more easy constitution to shed tears than others, so that there may be more 
grief where there are fewest tears. 

But to come to the question more directly, we ought to think our estates 
not so good as they should be, if we cannot at one time or other weep for 
the sins and miseries of the church. If we can shed tears for outwai'd 
things at one time or other, and cannot weep for spiritual, it is a bad sign ; 
for certainly, one time or other ordinarily God's children express their 
sorrow for their sins, and the estate of the church, by tears. They either 


have tears for spiritual respects, or else they mourn that they cannot mourn, 
grieve that they cannot grieve, and desire that they might mourn and that 
they could weep. They wish with Jeremiah that their head were a fountain 
of tears, they wish they might have their bodies to answer the intent of 
their soul, that so they might largely express outwardly their inward grief. 
As Jeremiah feared he should not have tears enough, therefore wished that 
his head were a fountain of tears, so they desire, Oh that I could mourn, 
and that I could weep ! 

Sol. 2. But what shall we say to those that can weep for other things ? 
Shall they be condemned for hypocrites ? 

1. I answer, No ; for a torrent may run faster for the present than a 
continual current ; so on the sudden there may be tears and grief for out- 
ward things, but yet grief for sin is more because of the continuance thereof. 
For sin is a continual cause of sorrow. Whereas sorrow for outward things 
is but on a sudden, as it was in David when he cried, ' Oh my son Absalom, 
my son Absalom ! ' 2 Sam. xviii. 33. What ado is here on the sudden for 
Absalom ! but yet he wept for his sins more, because that was a continual 
grief. So in a Christian, there may be some sudden passion, when he may 
seem to weep and grieve most for outward things, but yet his grief for 
sin and the misery of the church is more, because it is a continual grief. 

2. Again, Spiritual grief comes from spiritual causes. Tears for sin, 
and for the church of God, do issue merely from spiritual grounds ; whereas 
in [natural grief for outward things, we have both the Spirit and nature that 
make us grieve. Now when both these meet together, they carry the soul 
strongly, as in a stream. So that there must needs be more tears and 
grief for outward things. As when the windows of heaven were opened 
from above, and the foundations below were broken up, there must needs 
follow a great flood. Gen. vii. 11 ; so when we have the Spirit from above, 
and our nature below, there must of necessity be a great grief for outward 
things. But yet in these cases, a little of spiritual sorrow is better than a 
great deal of natural, for spiritual grief fats the soul. As the river Nile 
runs through Egypt, and fats the land, so this heavenly water of tears and 
grief fattens the soul, and makes it fit for all holy services. They are both 
good, but one less than the other. Natural grief is allowable, which if a 
man have not, he is in a reprobate sense ; for the apostle reckons this up 
as a great sin, that in the latter days men should be without natural affec- 
tion. So then we see, that for this reason also there may be a great store 
of grief and tears for outward things. 

3. Again, Let them that grieve that they cannot more grieve, know and 
comfort themselves, that they have the Spirit of God within them, which 
is an everlasting spring that will in time overcome all carnal and worldly 
respects whatsoever, and make the heart in a fit temper of weeping and 
grieving for spiritual respects. 

Use. Well, if this be thus, what shall we think of the jovial people of 
the world, who are so far from this sorrow, that— when a man shall come 
and ask them when they wept for their sins, when they did ever mourn 
and send up sighs to God for their swearing, lying, profanation of God's 
Sabbath, for the wrong they have done to others, or for any of their sins— 
the time was never yet wherein they ever shed a tear for sin, or had a 
sigh, groan, or mourning for sin ? In what estate are we born in ? All 
children of wrath, and heirs of damnation. But when got you out of this 
state ? You have ever lived in jollity. Therefore as yet you are as you 
were born, a child of wrath. Do ye think to reap, and never sow ? to 


reap in joy, and never sow in tears ? God puts all his children's tears in 
a bottle ; but thou sparest God a labour, because thou never weepest. 
There are a company that engross all jollity and mirth, as if they had no 
cause to weep, whose language yet when any man hears, and observes 
their courses and living in gross sins, he may quickly judge that they of 
all others have most cause to weep, though there be none more free from 
mourning, and though they seem to be the only men of the world. But 
I say to such, go weep, howl, and lament for your sins ; for your peace 
is not yet made with God. Therefore never rest till thou hast got an 
assurance from heaven that thy sins are forgiven thee. Many people are 
angry because ministers tell them of this, but surely we must be damned 
if we do not. 

Therefore, as any would hope for comfort, and have God to wipe away 
their tears from them in another world, let them work upon their hearts 
here, to shed tears for their own sins first, and then for the sins of the 
time ; for their own first, I say, for a man must first be good in himself 
before he can be good to others ; and then let their grief extend to their 
brethren even beyond the seas, to the forlorn estate of the church there. 

Now the last thing that is noted in Josiah's weeping, is the sincerity of 
it. ' Thou hast wept before me ;' that is, sincerely, before God. He sinned 
before him, and is humbled before him. There is nothing hid from his 
sight, not only open sins, but he knows the very thoughts of our hearts : 
therefore let us weep before him without hypocrisy. No matter whether 
the world see it or no ; but let us weep before God, as the prophet saith, 
Jer. xiii. 17, ' My soul shall weep in secret for you, and mine eyes shall 
weep, and drop down tears in the night season.' Let us weep in secret 
before God ; for this is without hypocrisy. Now follows the issue of his 
weeping and humbling of himself. 

* I have even heard thee also,' saith the Lord. 

In which words is set down GocVs gracious acceptation of Josialis liiimi- 
Uatioii ; which was not without his special observation. ' For I have even 
heard thee,' saith the Lord : so that it seems Josiah did utter some words of 
grief, because God saith, ' I have heard it. And we may the rather think 
so, because usually God's children do in their praj^ers add words unto their 
tears, as David and good Hezekiah did. Howsoever then his prayer was 
not a distinct prayer of a composed tenor of speech ; yet it was a prayer, 
because that with these tears he did send up sighs, and groans, and uttered 
broken words from a broken heart. There was such a language in his 
heart that God did understand, for God understands the language of his 
own Spirit in the hearts of his children. The Spirit knows what we mean, 
as Kom. viii. 2(5, 27. God hath an ear to hear our desires, our sighs and 
groans ; for tears have the weight of a voice, they speak for us. Where 
there is true grief, many times there cannot come a composed tenor of 
speech ; for a broken heart expresseth itself more in sighs, groans, and 
tears, than in words. Though we do not utter distinct words in a form of 
prayer, yet he hears our sighs and groans : his ears are open to the cries 
of his children. So we learn from hence, for our comfort against all Satan's 

Doct. 6. That God takes a particidar notice, and understands the prayers 
tee make unto him: he hears the groans of his children. So David saith, 
' My groaning is not hid from thee,' Ps. xxxviii. 9. So the prophet says, Ps. 
clxY. 18, 19, ' He will fulfil the desire of them that hear* him ; he will also 

* Qu. ' fear ? '—En. 


bear their cry, and will save tliern ;' yea, he knows our thoughts long before. 
This must needs be so. 

Ueason 1. First, Because he is gracious and merciful ; he is a God hear- 
ing prayers. 

2. Because of the relations which in his love he hath taken upon himself, 
to be a Father. So that when a man shall, by the Spirit of adoption, call 
God Father, there is such a deal of eloquence and rhetoric in this very 
word, it works so upon the bowels of God, that he cannot choose but hear. 
Even as a child, when he speaks to his father, and calls him by this name, 
this word father doth so work upon him that he cannot but hear. So it 
is with God ; when he hears us call him Father, he cannot but hear us. 

3. Because of his nature and love, which is above the love of an earthly 
father. Though a mother should forget, and not hear her child, yet the 
Lord will hear us. 

And likewise this is his promise : ' Call upon me in the day of trouble, 
and I will hear thee, and thou shalt glorify me,' Ps. 1. 15. 

4. Again, God cannot basely esteem of our prayers, because they are the 
motions of his own Spirit. Oh, but they are broken prayers. It is true ; 
but the Spirit understands them and makes intercession for us, with sighs 
and groans that cannot be expressed ; and none can understand them but 
the Spirit, Eom. viii. 26, 27. 

6. Again, God cannot but hear our prayers, because they are offered up 
in the name of a mediator. They are perfumed with the incense and sacri- 
fice of his Son. Therefore he cannot but hear them. 

7. Again, God must needs hear our prayers, because they are made 
according to his will. When we pray for ourselves, and for the church of 
God, it is according to God's will. So then, if we consider these respects, 
God cannot but hear our prayers. 

Ohj. But some will object, God doth not hear me: I have prayed a 
long while, and yet he hath not given me an answer. 

Ans. 1. I answer, God doth always hear, though he seemeth not to 
hear sometimes, to increase our importunity. Christ heard the woman of 
Canaan at first ; but yet, to increase her importunity, he gave her the 
repulse and denial, and with the same, inward strength to wrestle with him. 

Ans. 2. Again, God seems not to hear, because he delights in the music 
of his children's prayers. Oh how he loves to hear the voice of his chil- 
dren ! As a father to hear the language of his child, though it be none of 
the best ; so it is sweet music in God's ears to hear the prayers of his 
children. He will have prayers to be cries. Therefore he defers to hear ; 
but in deferring he doth not defer, for he increaseth our strength, as in 
Jacob's wrestling, that we might cry after him, wrestle with him, and ofler 
violence unto him again. 

Ans. 3. And sometimes, indeed, he will not hear us, because, it may be, 
there is some secret Achan in the camp, or some Jonah in the ship ; some 
sin, I mean, in the heart unrepented of; for in this case we may come 
before God again and again, and he not hear us. This is the reason why 
God hears not many Christians, because they have not made a thorough 
inquisition into their own estates, found out their sins, and humbled them- 
selves for it. Thus we see for what reasons God defers to hear our prayers. 

Use 1. If this be so, that God doth hear us, let us make this use, to be 
plentiful in prayers, and lay up a great store of them in the bosom of God, 
for this is that will do us the most good. He hears every one in due time. 
"We do never lose a sigh, a tear, or anything that is good, which proceeds 



from his own Spirit, but he will answer abundantly in his own time. For 
he that gives a desire, and prepares our heart to praj', and gives us a 
Mediator by whom to offer them up, will doubtless accept of them in his 
own Son, and Avill answer them. The time will come when he will accept 
of nothing else, and we shall have no other thing to offer up. What a 
comfort will it then be, that we have in former times, and can now call 
upon God ! The day is coming when goods will do us no good, but 
prayers will. What a comfort then is it to a Christian, that he hath a God 
to go to, that hears his prayers ! Let all the world join together against a 
Christian, take away all things else and cast him into a dungeon, yet they 
cannot take away his God from him. What a happiness is it to pray ! 
We can never be miserable so long as we have the Spirit of prayer. Though 
we were in a dungeon with Jeremiah, or in the whale's belly with Jonah,' 
yea, though in hell, yet there we might have cause of comfort. 

Let us therefore be ashamed of our barrenness in this duty, and observe 
whether God hear our prayers, or else how can we be thankful ? There be 
many that pray, because their consciences do force them to some devotion, 
and therefore they slubber over a few prayers that their consciences may 
not smite them, but they never observe the issue of their prayers, whether 
God hears them or not ; whereas God is a God hearing prayers, and the 
child of God doth esteem of nothing but that which he hath from God, as 
a fruit of prayer, and therefore accordingly he doth return thanks. God 
will have his children beg all of him. As some fathers will give nothing 
to their children, but they will have them first ask it of them, so God 
will give us nothing but what we pray for. And though he doth exceed to 
give us more than we ask, yet he looks that we should return thanks in 
some measure proportionable to the benefit received. Therefore let us 
observe how God hears our prayers, that so w^e may be suitably thankful. 
This will strengthen our iaith in evil times when we can thus plead with 
God. Hear, Lord ! Heretofore I came before thee, though weakly, yet 
witha broken heart, and thou didst hear me then. Thou art still a God 
hearing prayer, therefore. Lord, look upon my estate now and help me. 
Seemg, then, God hears our prayers, let us think of this glorious privilege, 
that we have liberty to go to the throne of grace in all our wants. The 
whole world is not worth this one privilege. We cannot command the 
prince's ear at all times ; but we have a God always to go to, that will hear 
us. What a wretched folly is it therefore of those that, by their sins, bring 
themselves into such a condition that they cannot have God to hear them. 
j^ Quest. But how shall we make such prayers as God will hear ? 

Ans. I answer fii-st of all. Would we be in such an estate that we may 
enjoy this blessed privilege, to have God's ear ready to hear ? 

1. First, Then hear him. If we will have God to hear us, then let us 
hear God, as Josiah did. When he heard the word read, his heart melted. 
For ' he that turneth away his ears from hearing the law, even his prayers 
shall be abominable,' saith God, Prov. xxviii. 9. 

And is it not good reason, think we, for God not to hear us, when we 
will not hear him ? Prov. i. 24, 25, ' Because I have called, and you have 
refused ; when you are in misery, and shall out of self-love cry to me to 
be delivered, then I will refuse to hear you,' saith the Lord. Therefore 
let all profane persons, that will not hear God, know a time will come, 
that though they cry and roar, yet he will not hear them. 

2. Secondly, K we will have God hear our prayers, they must proceed 
from a broken heart. Prayers be the sacrifice of a broken spirit. Josiah 


had a tender and a broken heart, and therefore God could not despise his 
prayers. So David pleads with God : Ps. li. 17, ' The sacrifice of God is 
a broken and a contrite spirit.' So holy Bernard saith, ' I have led a life 
unbefitting me ; but yet my comfort is, that a broken heart and a contrite 
spirit, Lord, thou wilt not despise.'* God will hear the prayers and tears 
of relenting hearts. 

3. Thirdly, To strengthen our prayers we must add to them the wings 
of love, faith, hope, and earnestness, as Josiah did here. Out of love to 
his country his prayers were joined with weeping, and he wrestled with 
tears. Oh ! the prayers that have tears with them cannot go without a 

4. Lastly, If we would have God to hear us, let us have such a resolu- 
tion and purpose of reformation as Josiah had ; for his prayers were joined 
with a purpose of reformation, which he afterwards performed in so strict a 
manner, that there was never such a reformation among all the kings of 
Judah as he made. To this purpose David saith, ' If I regard wickedness 
in my heart, God will not hear my prayer,' Ps. Ixvi. 18. If we have but 
a resolution to live in any sinful course, let us make as many prayers as 
we will, God will not respect them. God regarded good Josiah, because 
he had no purpose to live in any sin against him. 

If we come with a traitorous mind unto God, with our sins in our arms, 
we must look for no acceptation from him. When a man comes to a king 
to put up a petition unto him, and comes with a dagger in his hand to stab 
him, will the king accept of this man's petition ? So, do we think that 
God will hear our prayers when we bring a dagger in our hand, to stab him 
with our sins ? If we will not leave swearing, lying, pride, covetousness, 
and the like, if we have not covenanted with our own hearts, but still go 
on in sin, we shall never go away with a blessing. Josiah reformed him- 
self; therefore God saith, ' I have also heard thee.' Thus if our prayers 
issue from a heart rightly afiected, as good Josiah's was, then we shall 
speed as he did ; for God did not only hear his prayer, but see how he 
rewards, him with an excellent blessing ; to be taken home to heaven from 
the troubles of this life : which we shall in the next place speak of. 
* In Ms Letters very often. — G. 



Behold, I ivill gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt he [fathered to thy 
grave in jjeace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I icill bring upon 
this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king 
ivord again. — 2 Cheon. XXXIV. 28. 

It is for the most part the privilege of a Christian, that his last days are his 
best ; and ' though weeping be in the evening, yet joy comes in the morn- 
ing,' Ps. XXX. 5 ; though he do begin in darkness, yet he ends in light. 
Whereas, on the contrary, the wicked begin in jollity and light, but end in 
darkness ; yea, such a darkness as is 'utter darkness,' Mat. viii. 12 — by 
Peter called the ' blackness of darkness,' 2 Pet. ii. 17 — the preparations 
whereunto are, God's outward judgments in this life inflicted upon the im- 
penitent and rebellious, wherein God many times puts a sensible, visible 
difference betwixt the godly and the wicked ; as betwixt Lot and the Sodom- 
mites, Noah and the^adulterous world, Moses and the Israelites with him, 
from Korah, Dathan, and his company, the Egyptians and the Israelites 
at the Red Sea ; and in this text, betwixt this good king and his people. 
He must not see all the evil that God was to bring upon his wicked and 
rebellious subjects. Oh the happiness of holiness, which is sure to speed 
well in all storms whatsoever ; because on all the glory there is a defence, 
as Isaiah speaks, Isa. iv. 5. Light is sown for the righteous, Ps. xcvii. 11 ; 
and whatsoever his troubles be, yet his last end shall be blessed. ' Let 
me die,' saith Balaam, ' the death of the righteous, and let my last end be 
like his,' Num. xxiii. 10. Such honour have all his saints, such honour 
had this good king Josiah ; being removed from hence that he might not 
see the evil to come. Though he were taken from earth, yet it was for 
his good, that he might be gathered into heaven, and make a royal 

The words contain a promise of a reward, and great favour unto good king 
Josiah, that he should die, and be gathered unto his fathers; and that 
which is more, the manner considered, that he should ' die in peace ; ' the 
ground whereof is shewed unto him : ' Because thine eyes shall not see 
all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of 
the same.' God's promises are of three sorts. First, Such as he made 

THE saint's eefreshing. 77 

upon condition of legal obedience : ' Do this and tliou slialt live.' Secondly, 
When we are humbled upon sight of our sins, then he propounds another 
way, and promises that if we believe in Jesus Christ our surety, who hath 
made satisfaction for us, then we shall live. This is the grand promise of 
all, the promise of life everlasting, and pardon of sin. Thirdly, There are 
promises of encouragement unto us, when we are in the state of grace. As 
a father, who means to make his son an heir, doth give him many promises 
of encouragement, so God deals with his children, when they are in the 
covenant of grace. 

There are, I say, promises of particular rewards to encourage them, as 
they are sure of the main and great reward, namely, everlasting life. 
Therefore Josiah being an heir of heaven, God did propound a promise of 
encouragement unto him, by way of favour, to shew that his good works 
were not unregarded. In general here, 

Doct. 1. First, We may observe God's gracious dealinfj ivith his children, 
that he takes notice of every good thing they do, and doth reward them for 
it, yea, in this life. There is not a sigh but God hears it, not a tear but 
he hath a bottle for it. Most men spare God a labour in this kind. He 
promiseth ' to wipe away all tears from our eyes,' Eev. xxi. 4, but they 
will shed none. Yet the least tear shed, and word spoken in a good cause, 
goes not without a reward from God ; not so much as a cup of cold water, 
but he rewards. Which must needs be so : 

Because God looks upon the good things we do, being his own works 
in us, as upon lovely objects, with a love unto them ; for though Josiah 
had said nothing, yet his deep humiliation itself, was as it were a prayer, 
that cried strongly in the ears of God, that he could not but reward it. 
So that partly because God looks upon us as lovely objects, he loving the 
work of his own Spirit, and partly because they cry unto God, as it were, 
and pluck down a blessing from heaven, they cannot go unrewarded. 

Use. This is matter of comfort, that God will not only reward us with 
heaven, but will also recompense every good thing we do, even in this 
world ; yea, such is his bounty, he rewards hypocrites. Because he will 
not be beholding to them for any good thing they do, nor have them die 
unrewarded, he recompenseth them with some outward favours, which is 
all they desire. Ahab did but act counterfeit humiliation, and he was 
rewarded for it, 1 Kings xxi. 27-29. So the Scribes and Pharisees did 
many good things, and had that they looked for. They looked not for 
heaven, but for the praise of men. This they had, as Christ tells them, 
♦ Verily, I say unto you, you have your reward,' Mat. yi. 5. God will be 
beholding to none ; but whosoever do anything that is good, they shall 
have some reward, whether they be good or bad. If the conscience of a 
man did judge well, he might come to God with boldness, not to brag of 
good works, but out of an humble heart saying, ' Kemember me, Lord, as 
I have dealt with thee.' So good Hezekiah did: ' Remember, Lord, how I 
have walked before thee in truth,' Isa. xxxviii. 3. AVhen we labour in all 
our actions to please God, we may with boldness approach to the throne of 
grace, and say with Peter, Remember, Lord, ' Thou knowest that I love 
thee,' John xxi. 15. If there were no other reward but this, that we have 
a privilege to go to God with boldness, our conscience not accusing us, it 
were enough. What a shame is it, then, that we should be so barren in 
good works, seeing our labour shall not be unrewarded of the Lord ! Oh 
then let us take counsel of the apostle : * Finally, my brethren, be ye sted- 
fast and unmoveable, abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that 

78 THE saint's refreshing. 

your laboHi' is not in vain in the Lord,' 1 Cor. xv. 58. He hatli a 
reward for every cup of cold water, for every tear. Every good deed we 
do hath the force of a prayer to beg a blessing ; yea, our very tears speak 
loud to God, although we say nothing. But to come to particulars. 

* Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers,' &c. 

Here we see this word behold, a word serving to stir up attention, set 
before the promise, which was formerly set before a threatening, * Behold, 
I will bring evil upon this place,' &c. Behold is as necessary before pro- 
mises as threatenings. For the soul is ready to behold that which is evil, 
and by nature is prone to dejection, and to cast down itself. Therefore 
there need be a ' behold' put before the promise, to raise up the dejected 
soul of Josiah or others, and all little enough. Christians should have two 
eyes, one to look upon the ill, the other upon the good, and the grace of 
God that is in them, that so we may be thankful. But they for the most 
part look only upon the ill that is in them, and so God wants his glory and 
we our comfort. 

' Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to 
thy grave in peace.' 

Doct. 2. Mark here the language of Canaan, hoiv the Spirit of God in 
common matters doth raise up the soul to think hifjhhj of them. 

Therefore it is that the Holy Ghost sweetens death with a phrase of 
* gathering.' Instead of saying, Thou shalt die, he saith, ' Thou shalt be 
gathered.' How many phrases have we in Scripture that have comfort 
wrapped in them, as there is in this phrase, ' Thou shalt be gathered to 
thy grave in peace.' I will not speak how many ways peace is taken in 
Scripture. 'Thou shalt die in peace;' that is, thou shalt die quietly, 
honourably, and peaceably. And thou shalt not see the misery that I will 
bring upon the state and kingdom. Thou shalt be gathered to thy fathers, 
which is meant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all the faithful patriarchs. 

Doct. 3. Only observe, it is a very sweet word, and imports unto us, 
that death is nothinr/ but a (lathering, and presupposeth that God's children 
are all scattered in this world amongst wicked men, in a forlorn place, where 
they are used untowardly, as pilgrims use to be in a strange land. There- 
fore we had need be gathered, and it is a comfort to be gathered. But 
from whence shall he be gathered ? He shall be gathered from a wicked, 
confused world ; and to whom shall he go ? To his Father. His soul 
shall go to their souls, his body shall be laid in the grave with theirs. 
As if he had said. Thou shalt leave some company, but go to better ; thou 
shalt leave a kingly estate, but thou shalt go to a better kingdom, 

Doct. 4. The changes of God's children are for the better. Death to them 
is but a gathering. This gathering doth shew the preciousness of the thing 
gathered ; for God doth not use to gather things of no value. Josiah was 
a pearl worth the gathering. He was one of high esteem, very precious. 
So every Christian is dearly bought, with the blood of Christ, Therefore 
God will not suffer him to perish, but will gather him before the evil days 
come. As men use to gather jewels before fire comes into their houses ; 
or as husbandmen will be sure to gather their corn, before they will let 
the beasts come into the field ; so saith God to him, I will be sure to 
gather thee before I bring destruction upon the land. We are all by nature 
lost in Adam, and scattered from God, therefore we must be gathered again 
in Christ. For all gathering that is good is in him ; for he is the head of 


all union that is good. And this is to be wrought by the ordinances of 
God, by the means of the ministry, which is appointed unto that end, to 
gather us, as Mat. xxiii. 37, Christ speaks to Jerusalem, ' How often would 
I have gathered you together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her 
wings, hut you would not.' Christ would have gathered them unto him- 
self, by his word, but they refused. 

AH the gathering of a Christian in this life is a gathering to Christ by 
faith, and to the communion of saints by love, 1 Thes. iv. 17 ; and the 
more he doth grow in grace, the more near communion he hath with Christ. 
Then after this gathering by grace, there comes by death a gathering to 
Christ in glory. For the soul goes for ever and ever to be with the Lord. 
After this comes a higher degree of gathering at the day of judgment, when 
there shall be a great meeting of all saints, and the soul and body shall be 
reunited together, to remain for ever with the Lord. Let us then think of 
this, that whatsoever befalls us in the world, we shall be sure to be gathered, 
for death is but a gathering. For from whence goes Josiah ? From a 
sinful world, a sinful estate, a wretched people, unto his fathers, who are 
all good, nay, to God his Father. We are all here as Daniel in the lion's 
den, as sheep among wolves ; but at death we shall be gathered to our 
fathers. It is a gathering to a better place, to heaven ; and to better 
persons, to fathers, where we shall be for ever praising the Lord, never 
offending him, loving and pleasing one another. Here Christians displease 
one another, and cannot be gathered together in love and affection, but there 
they shall be gathered in unity of love for ever. 

Use. This serves, first of all, to comfort, us in departure of friends, to 
render their souls up with comfort into the hands of God. We know they 
are not lost, but sent before us. We shall be gathered to them, they can- 
not come to us. Therefore why should we grieve ? They are gathered in 
quietness and rest to their fathers. This should also make us render our 
souls to God, as into the hands of a faithful Creator and Redeemer. From 
whence go we ? From a sinful world and place of tears, to a place of 
happiness above expression. Why should we be afraid of death ? It is 
but a gathering to our fathers. What a comfort is it to us in this world, 
that we shall go to a place where all is good, where we shall be perfectly 
renewed, made in the image of God, and shall have nothing defaced ? Let this 
raise up our dead and drowsy souls. Thus we shall be one day gathered. 
The wicked shall be gathered together, but a woeful gathering is it. They 
shall be gathered like a bundle of tares, to be thrown into hell, there for 
ever to burn. They are dross and chaff, never gathered to Christ by faith, 
nor to the body of the church by love ; and therefore they are as dross and 
chaff, which the wind scatters here, and shall for ever be scattered here- 
after, Ps. i. 4. They are, as Cain, vagabonds in regard of the life of grace 
here ; and therefore shall be for ever scattered from the life of glory here- 
after. They shall be gathered to those whom they delighted in, and kept 
company with, whilst they were in this world. They loved to keep com- 
pany with the wicked here, therefore they shall be gathered to them in hell 
hereafter. This is sure, thou shalt Hve in heaven or hell afterwards, with 
those whom thou livedst with here. Dost thou live only delighted in evil 
company now ? It is pity thou shouldst be severed from them hereafter. 
If thou be gathered to them in love and affection here, thou shalt be gathered 
to them in hell and destruction hereafter. It is a comfortable evidence to those 
that delight in good company, that they shall be with them in heaven for ever, 
' Hereby wc know that we are translated from death to life, because we love 

80 THE saint's kefreshing. 

the brethren,' 1 John iii. 14. And on the contrary, those that are brethren 
in evil here, may read in their own wicked courses and conversation what 
will become of them hereafter. They are all tares, and shall be gathered 
together in a bundle, and cast into hell fire for ever. 

' And thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace.* 

Here is a reward, not only to die, but to die in peace. Josiah goes the 
way of all flesh ; he must die though he be a king. This statute binds 
all. All are liable to death. ' And thou shalt be gathered, or put in thy 
grave in peace.' This doth declare that he should be buried ; the ground 
whereof is out of Gen. iii. 19, ' Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt 
return.' From earth we came, and to earth we shall return. The earth 
we carry and the earth we tread on shall both meet together. In that God 
doth here promise it to Josiah as a blessing, we may hence learn, 

Doct 5. That burial is a comely and lionourahle thing, and that we ought 
to have respect unto it, partly because the body of a dead Christian is a 
precious thing. They are temples of the Holy Ghost, members of Christ, 
and therefore ought to have the honour of burial. Partly because it shews 
our love and afl'ection to the party buried, for it is the last kindness we 
can do unto them. Again, we ought to have respect to burial, to shew our 
hope of the resurrection, that though the body be cast into the earth, yet 
it shall rise ; though it be sown in dishonour, yet it shall rise in honour. 
So we see that for these reasons burial is honourable. Therefore it is said 
of the faithful in Scripture, that they were buried, to shew how honourable a 
thing it is ; and indeed it is an honour, specially for fathers, to be buried 
by their friends and children, and carried by them into their graves. For 
to be buried like a beast is a judgment to wicked men. 

Quest. But what then shall we say to all those that are not thus buried, 
whose bodies are given to be torn by wild beasts, or burnt to ashes, or 
flung into rivers, as antichrist useth to deal with many saints ? 

Ans. I answer, that in this case faith must raise itself above difficulty ; 
for though it be a favour and blessing of God, to have Christian burial after 
we are dead, yet Christians must be content to go without this blessing 
sometimes, when God calls them to the contrary, as when we cannot have 
it upon good terms, with peace of conscience, or with God's love. In this 
case a burial in regard of God's favour is not worth the naming. Therefore 
let all Christians be content to put their bodies, life and all, to hazard ; 
not only to be willing to want burial when we are dead, but to sacrifice our 
lives and whatsoever else for God, as many saints have been martyred, 
and their bodies burnt to ashes. Yet God will gather together the ashes 
of the dead bodies of his children ; for ' right precious in the sight of the 
Lord is the death of his saints,' Ps. cxvi. 15. And is it not better to want 
this with God's favour, than to have the most honourable burial in the 
world on evil terms ? For what saith the Spirit of God ? ' Happy and 
blessed are they which die in the Lord,' Eev. xiv. 13; not happy are 
they that die in pomp, and are buried in state, but happy are they that 
die in the Lord. Therefore when we may not have it, although it be a 
comely thing, yet if we have God and Christ, wo have all that is good. 
Therefore it is no matter what becomes of our bodies after we are dead ; 
for though we be flung into the sea, burnt to ashes, yet both sea and earth 
must give up all the dead, as it is Eev. sx. 13. Therefore as for our 
bodies, let us be willing that God may have them, who gave them ; and if 
he will have us to sacrifice our lives for him, let us do it willingly. 

THE saint's refreshing. 81 

' And thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace.' 

Obj. How is this ? for we read, in the succeeding chapter of Josiah, that 
he died a violent death; he was slain by the hands of his enemies. Is this 
to die in peace ? 

Sol. I answer, the next words do expound it. He died in peace, 
* because his eyes should not see the evil that God would bring upon the 
land afterwards ;' as if he had said. Thou shalt not see the ruin of the 
church and commonwealth. So, though Josiah were slain by idolaters, by 
Pharaoh and his chariots, yet ho died in peace comparatively with a worse 
state of Hfe. For though he died a bloody death by the hands of his 
enemies, yet he died in peace, because he was prevented by death from 
seeing that which was worse than death. For God may reserve a man in 
this life to worse miseries than death itself. 

From hence we learn this instruction, 

Doct. 6. That death may he less miserable than the ill which a man may 
live to see in this life ; or, that the miseries of this life may be such as that 
death may be much better than life, and far rather to be cliosen. We may 
fall into such miseries whilst we do live, that we may desire death, they 
being gi-eater than it. The reason hereof is, because that a sudden death, 
in some respects, is better than a lingering one. One death is better than 
many deaths, for how many deaths did Josiah escape by this one death ! 
It would have been a death to him if he had lived to see the ruin of the 
commonwealth, the church of God, and his own sons carried into captivity, 
to have seen them slain, their eyes plucked out, the temple of God plucked 
down, and idolatry set up. 

We ought then to be careful how to avoid a cursed and miserable estate 
after death. All the care of wicked men is to avoid death. But they may 
fall into such an estate in this life that they may wish death, as an heathen 
emperor once did, who complaining said, ' I have none will do me so much 
favour as to kill me.'* All the desire of atheists is, that they may live. 
Thou base atheist, thou mayest fall into such an estate as is worse than 
death, and if that be so terrible, what will thatf estate be after death ? An 
atheist in this hfe desires hfe. Oh that I might not die ! But in hell thou 
wilt desire. Oh that I might die ! The time will come that thou shalt 
desire that which thou canst not abide to hear of now. What desperate 
folly is it therefore to redeem life with base conditions ; not to give it 
for the gospel when we are called to it. In this case, that base life which 
we so stand upon, will cost us the loss of our soul for ever in hell, when 
we shall desire to die. 

' Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be put in thy 
grave in peace.' The Lord saith, he ' wiU gather.' So we see, 

Doct. 7. Our times are in God's hand ; as David saith, ' My time is in 
thy hand,' Ps. xxxi. 15. Our times of coming into the world, continuing 
in it, and going out of it, are in God's hand. Therefore he saith, ' Thou 
shalt be put in thy grave in peace.' God hath power of death. Our going 
and coming is from God ; he is the Lord of life and death. 

Use. This is a comfort unto us xchile u-e live in this xcorld, that whilst we 
live we are not in our own hands, we shall not die in our own time ; neither 
is it in our enemies' hands, but in God's hand. He hath appointed a 
certain time of our being here in this world. This should tie us to obedi- 
ence, and to die in hope and faith ; because when we die we are but 
gathered to our fathers, to better company and place than we leave behind us. 
* Qu. • Nero ' ?— G. t Qu. ' thine ' ?— Ed. 

VOL. VI. ^ 

82 THE saint's refreshing. 

Again we see here that men may outlive their oivn happiness, tliat at last 
life may be a judgment unto them, because they may see that which is 
worse than death. How many parents live to see the ruin of their own 
families ! the undoing of their children by their own miscarriage ! We 
see God takes away Josiah, because he will not have him live, as it were, 
beyond his happiness. We see how tenderly affected God is for the good 
of his children. He pities them when they are in misery, knows what they 
are able to bear, and will lay no more upon them than he gives them 
strength to endure. God knew that Josiah was tender-hearted, and melted 
at the very threatenings, which if he could not endure to hear against his 
country, could he ever have endured to have seen the miseries upon his 
people and country ? Surely no. Therefore God will rather gather him 
to his fathers. 

Now this is a wonderful comfort, that many times God will not let us 
see too great matter of grief. Let us then imitate God, and deal so one 
with another as God deals with us — the husband with the wife, and the 
wife with the husband, and the like. Let us not acquaint them with such 
things as may make them more grieve than is fitting, or they are able to 
bear. God would not have Josiah to see the misery he brought upon his 
country, because he knew that he was tenderly disposed, that a little grief 
would soon overcome him. So let us beware of causing any to grieve, or 
to let them know things which they are not able to bear. 

Again, Seeing this is a grief to a kind and loving father, yea, worse than 
death, to see the ruin of his child, this should teach all those that are 
young, to take care that they give no occasion of offence to those that are 
over them, for to grieve ; which will be worse than death unto them. It 
would have been worse than a death unto Josiah to have seen the ruin of 
his children. So for those children which have been cherished by their 
parents in their nonage, it will be worse than death to them in their age to 
see their children lewd and come to ruin, whereby they bring so much 
sooner the grey head of their father to the grave in sorrow. These offend 
against the sixth commandment, which saith, ' Thou shalt not kill.' Let 
us then rather revive and comfort the heart of those that have been good 
unto us, and not kill them, or do that which is worse than death unto them. 

* Neither shall thy eyes see the misery I will bring upon this people.' 
Doct. 8. Here we learn again that it is the sight of misery which icorks the 
deepest imjn'ession. It is not the hearing of a thing, but the sight of it, 
which affecteth most deeply ; as in the sacrament, the seeing of the bread 
broken, and the wine poured out, works a deep impression ; and because 
God knew Josiah's heart would break at the sight of the misery, therefore 
he tells him, * Thine eyes shall not see the evil that I will bring upon this 
place.' The sight is a most working sense, to make the deepest impression 
upon the soul. What shall be our great joy and happiness in heaven, but 
that we shall see God for evermore ? Sight is a blessing upon earth, both 
the eyes of the body wherewith we see, and the eyes of the soul — that is, 
faith — which makes us see afar off, till in heaven we shall see him face to 
face. So that sight makes us both happy and miserable. 

Use 1. How ivretched, then, is the estate of them that shall see themselves, 
with their own wicked eyes, sent to hell, tvith the creature they delighted in. 
That which the eyes see, the heart feels. There are many atheists, whose 
whole care is to preserve life. They would live, although they live the life 
of a dog. But the time will come, that thou wilt more earnestly desire 

THE saint's refbeshing. 83 

death than life. Thy eyes shall see, and thy body feel, and thy conscience 
too, that which is worse than a thousand deaths. Thou shalt then die a 
living death. The worm of thy conscience shall gnaw thee for ever, and 
shalt see and feel the tormenting fire which shall never be quenched. That 
which the wicked nourish now to follow their humour, never caring to please 
God, the day will be when they shall desire to avoid it ; and that which 
they labour to avoid most now, the time will come when they shall most 
desire it. Death is the king of fears. It is terrible. But then look be- 
yond death : what is behind that ? Thou shalt see at the heels of it hell 
and eternal damnation. 

Use 2. This should teach us also how to understand the promise of long 
life. It is a promise and a favour of God to be desired. It is a prayer 
with condition, if God see it good ; else God may give us long life, to see 
and feel a world of misery. Therefore such promises are to be desired 
conditionally : if God see it good for us. 

Doct. 9. Again, The Holy Ghost saith here, ' Thy eyes shall not see the 
evil I will bring upon this place.' Hence we learn, that those which be dead 
in the Lord, are freed from seeing of any evil or miserg. The godly shall see 
no misery after death. If this be so, then they do not go into purgatory 
after death, as the papists hold. The Holy Ghost saith, Josiah is taken 
away from seeing any evil to come. Then sure they do not fall into such 
misery after death, which is worse than death. True, say the papists, such 
excellent men as Josiah do go to heaven immediately. Ay, but the Holy 
Ghost saith by Isaiah, Ivii. 1, that ' the righteous are taken away from the 
evil to come.' It is spoken of the whole generation of righteous men. 
Therefore it is a sottish thing for them to hold that any of them shall see 
purgatory, when God saith the righteous are taken away from seeing any 
evil to come. 

Doct. 10. And as it is against them in this, so here is another conclusion 
against popery, that takes aivay their invocation of saints : for the righteous 
go to heaven, and cannot see or know our wants and miseries ; yea, they 
are taken away, because they should not see the miserable estate that befalls 
their posterity. Then if they do not know our wants, how can they hear 
and help us when we pray, seeing it is a part of their happiness not to 
understand our miseries ? For if Josiah, from heaven, could have seen 
the desolation and misery that befell his country afterwards, it would have 
wrought upon him. But Josiah was taken away, that he should not see it. 
Therefore, why should men spend that blessed incense and sacrifice of 
prayer, unto those that cannot hear ? But put case, they could hear some ; 
yet can they hear all that pray unto them ? A finite creature hath but a 
finite act and limited power. How can one saint give a distinct answer 
and help to perhaps a thousand prayers, as the virgin Mary hath many 
thousand prayers offered her ? How can she distinctly know, and give a 
distinct answer to every prayer ? 

' Thou shalt be put in thy grave in peace, neither shall thy eyes see all 
the evil that I will bring upon this place.' Let us learn here a mystery of 
divine providence in his death; for there is a mystery of providence, not only 
in great matters, as election and predestination, but in ordering of the 
common things of the world. How many excellent mysteries are here wrapt 
together in this death of Josiah ! As, first, it is said that he died in peace, 
whereas he died a violent death, and was slain by the hands of his enemies. 
His death was both a mercy and a correction : a correction for his error in 
being so hasty in going to war with Pharaoh, king of Egypt ; and yet it 



was a mercy, because it prevented him from seeing the evil to come, and 
so likewise brought him sooner to heaven. It is a strange thing to see how 
the wisdom of heaven can mingle crosses and favours, corrections and 
mercies together ; that the same thing should be both a mercy to Josiah 
to be taken away, and yet a correction also for his error, in going to fight 
against Necho, king of Egypt, as we see 2 Chron. xxxv. 23. We may have 
mercies and afflictions upon us at the same time, as God, by the same death, 
corrected Josiah's folly, and rewarded his humihty. 

Mark here again another mystery, in the carriage of divine providence : 
how he brings his promises to pass strangely above the reach of man ; as 
here, he having promised Josiah that he should die in peace, one would 
have thought that Josiah should have died in pomp and state. No. Thou 
shalt die in peace, although thou be slain by the hand of thy enemies ; thou 
shalt come to heaven, although it be by a strange way. Thus God brings 
his children to heaven by strange ways, yea, by contrary ways, [by] afflic- 
tions and persecutions. Paul knew he should come to Eome, although it 
were by a strange way ; though he suffered shipwreck, and was in great 
danger, as we may see Acts xxvii. 2, seq. God hath strange ways to bring 
his counsels to pass, which he doth so strangely, as we may see his own 
hand in it. 

Again, Here we may see another mystery in divine providence, concern- 
ing the death of Josiah, in that he icas taken aicay being a young man, but 
thirty-nine years old, who was the flower of his kingdom, and one upon 
whom the flourishing estate of such a kingdom did depend. Now, for such 
a gracious prince to be taken away in such a time, and at such an age, when 
he might have done much good, a man would hardly believe this mystery 
in divine providence. But ' our times are in God's hand,' Ps. xxxi. 15. 
His time is better than ours. And therefore he, seeing the sins of the 
people to be so great, that he could not bear with them longer,— for it was 
the sins of the people that deprived them of Josiah. It was not the king 
of Egypt who was the cause of his death, but the sins of the land — those 
caused God to make this way, to take away their gracious king. 

Use. Here we may admire the wisdom of God, who doth not give an 
account unto us of his doings, why he suffers some to live, and takes away 
others ; why he sufiers the wicked to live, and takes away his own. We can 
give little reason for it, because it is a mystery ; but God best knoweth the 
time when to reap his own corn. 

' Neither shall thy eyes see all the evil I will bring upon this place, and 
upon the inhabitants of the land.' 

Doct. 11. Here the Holy Ghost doth insinuate unto us that whilst 
Josiah was alive, God would not bring this judgment upon the land, but 
after his death, then it should come upon them. So here we learn this 
comfortable point of instruction, that the lives of God's children do keep 
hack judgment and evil from the place tv here they live, and their death is a 
forerunner of judgment. Their life keeps back ill, and their death plucks 
down ill. While thou art alive, I will bring no evil upon this place, but when 
thou art gone, then I will bring it down, saith God. The reasons of this are, 

Eeason 1. Because gracious men do make the times and the places good 
where they live. It is a world of good that is done by their example and 
help. While they live the times are the better for them. 

Reason 2. And again, they keep back ill, beccmse gracious men do bind God 
hy their prayers. They force, as it were, a necessity upon God, that he 



must let the world alone. They bind his hands, that he will do nothing 
while they are in it ; as to Lot in Sodom, * I can do nothing while* thou 
art gone, saith the angel,' Gen. xix. 22. They stand in the gap, and keep 
God from pouring down the vials of his wrath. But when they are gone, 
there is nothing to hinder or stop the current of divine justice, but that it 
must needs have his course. As when men have gathered their corn into 
their barns, then let their beasts, or whatsoever else go into the field, they 
care not ; and as when the jewels are taken out of a rotten house, though 
the fire then seize upon it, men regard not. So when God's jewels are 
gathered to himself, then woe to the wicked world, for then God will 
break forth in wrath upon them. Woe to the old world when Noah goes 
into the ark, for then follows the flood. Woe to Sodom when Lot goes out 
of it, for then it is sure to be burned. Luther prayed that God would not 
bring war upon the people in Germany all his time, but when he died, the 
whole land was overspread with war. So, before the destructiou of Jeru- 
salem, God did gather the Christians to a little city called Pella, near 
Jerusalem, then came Titus and Vespasian and ruinated the city of Jeru- 
salem.! So there are many gracious parents that die, after whose death 
comes some miserable end to their wicked children, but not before. God 
takes away the parents out of the world, that they might not see the ruin 
of their children. So then we see that it is clear, that good men keep 
back judgment from the places where they live. 

What should we learn from hence ? 

Use 1. This should teach us to malxc much of such men as truhjfear God, 
seeing it is for their sakes that God doth spare us. They carry the bless- 
ing of God with them wheresoever they go. As Laban's house was blessed 
for Jacob's sake. Gen. xxx. 27, and Potiphar's for Joseph's sake. Gen. 
xxxix. 23, so the wicked are spared and fare the better for the saints who 
live among them. But what is the common course of wicked men ? To 
hate such with a deadly hatred above all others, because their lives and 
speeches do discover the wickedness of theirs, and because they tell them 
the truth, and reprove them. 

Therefore it was that Ahab could not endure the sight of Micaiah, that 
holy prophet, who without flattery spake downright truth, 1 Kings xxii. 8, 
seq. So it is now beyond seas and elsewhere. They labour to root out 
all the good men. But what will they get by it ? Surely it will be a 
thousand times worse with them than it is ; for if they were out, then woe 
to the land presently. 

Use 2. This should also teach us to pray to God to Mess those that arerfood. 
Is it not good for us to uphold those pillars whereby we stand ? What 
madness is it for a man to labour to pull down the pillar whereby he is 
holden alive ? As Samson, pulling down the pillars of the house, brought 
death upon himself, so godly men, the pillars of this tottering world, which 
uphold the places whereby they live, being once shaken, all the whole 
state falls. Therefore let us not be enemies to our own good, to hate the 
godly ; for it is for their sakes the Lord shews mercy to us, and refrains to 
pour out his judgment upon the wicked world. And when the best gather- 
ing of all gatherings shall come, that the elect of God shall be gathered 
together, then comes the misery of all miseries to the wicked. So we see 
this point is clear, that the godly, while they are alive, keep back ill and 
bring much good. For doth God continue the world for wicked men ? 
Surely no. For what glory and honour hath God from such wicked 
* That is, ' until.'— Ed. t Cf. Note cccc, Vol. III. p. 536.— G. 

8G THE saint's kefkeshing. 

wretches ? Do they not swear, lie, live filthily, and ahnse his members ? 
Is it for these that God doth continue the world ? Surely no ; but for 
the godly' s sake are judgments deferred, and the world is continued. 

Use 3. If this be thus, iveU may ice lament the death of those that are good. 
For when they are gone, our safety is gone. ' They are the chariots and 
horsemen of Israel,' 2 Kings ii. 12. Therefore well may we bewail their 
loss. Well might Jeremiah lament for the death of Josiah, for together 
with the breath of Josiah the life of that state breathed out ; together with 
him, the flourishing condition of Jerusalem died, and lay bmied with him 
as it were in the same grave. 

See here again how God correcteth too much resting on the arm of 
flesh. They blessed themselves under Josiah, as if no evil should come 
near them ; as appears. Lament, iv. 20, ' The breath of our nostrils, the 
anointed of the Lord, was taken in their pits, of whom we said. Under his 
shadow we shall live.' There is no greater wrong to ourselves, and to 
others on whom we rest so much, than to secure ourselves so much on 
them as to neglect serious turning to God. 

' Neither shall thy eyes see all the evil I will bring upon this place.' 

This is the ground why he should die in peace, ' Because he shall not 
see all the evil I will bring upon this place.' Here we see that the judg- 
ment which God threatened to bring upon the church and commonwealth 
is set down by this word ' evil.' ' Thine eyes shall not see all the evil I 
will bring upon this place.' But who sends this evil. It is an evil brought 
by God. Thou shalt not see the evil ' I will bring,' &c. It was not God 
that brought it properly, but Nebuchadnezzar, who carried his sons into 
captivity. Howsoever, God had a hand in it. ' For is there any evil in the 
city and God hath not done it ? ' saith the prophet, Amos iii. 6. But we 
must distinguish between evil. There is, 

1. The evil of sin ; and 2. The evil of punishment. 

First, The evil of sin ; and this God doth not bring, for it is hateful unto 
him. Then the evil of punishment, which is twofold : 

(1.) Either that which comes immediately from God, as famine, pesti- 
lence, or the like ; in which punishments we are to deal with God alone. 

(2.) Or else, the evil that comes from God, but by men, which he useth 
as instruments to punish us, and this is by war and cruel usage. 

Now thus Josiah is taken away from this greatest evil we can suffer in 
this life ; to have God correct us by the hands of men. For when we have 
to deal with God, the labour is easier to prevail with him, as David did, 
2 Sam. xxiv. 14. But when we have to deal with merciless men, then we 
have to deal with the poisoned malice of men, besides God's anger. Now 
the evil that comes from God is chiefly, 

The ill which seizeth upon the soul after death ; or else, the evil which 
seizeth upon the whole man, both soul and body, both in this and after 
this life. 

Thus God is said to bring evil, not the evil of sin, but the evil of punish- 

Doct. 12. Hence we learn, that the evils uhich we suffer, they are from 
the evil of sin. It is sin that makes God to bring evil upon the creature. 
If we look upward to God, there is no evil in the world, for in that consi- 
deration all things are good so far as he hath a hand in them. Therefore, 
whatsoever the creature suffers, it comes from the meritorious evil, the evil 
of sin. It comes fi'om God, but through the evil of sin provoking him. 

THE saint's kefreshing. 87 

Quest. If any man ask, How can God, which is good, bring that which 
is evil ? 

Sol. I answer. We must know that the evil of punishment is the good of 
justice. All the evil that he doth is good, as it comes from him in his 
justice punishing, because it doth good to them that are punished, either 
to cause them return, or if they will not, to shew the glory of his justice in 
condemning them. It is the good of justice, and it is not always in God 
only permitting or suffering such a thing for to be done ; but it is in him 
as an act, having a hand in it. Therefore God saith, ' Ashur is the rod of 
my wrath ; '* so that in all punishments God hath a hand, whether it 
be upon the body or soul. 

. Use. This serves for direction unto us. To begin where ive should hegin ; 
in all our afflictions to go to heaven and make our peace with God, and 
not go to secondary causes. For all evil of punishment comes from him. 
Let us, if we fear evil, make our peace with God by repentance and new 
obedience ; and then he will overrule all secondary causes so as to help us. 
Go not in this case to the jailor, or to the executioner, but go to the judge. 
Let us make our peace in heaven first, and then there will be soon a com- 
mand for our ease. Yea, Christ can command the wind and sea to be still, 
the devil himself to be quiet, if our peace be made with him. 

Therefore let us learn this lesson, and not fret against the instrument 
whereby God useth to correct us. David had learned thus much when 
Shimei railed upon him : ' It is God that hath bid him, therefore let him 
alone,' 2 Sam. xvi. 11. So holy Job saith, ' It is God that gives, and God 
that takes away,' Job i. 21. He doth not only say, God gives, but God 
takes away. Oh but it was the Chaldeans that took it away. Ay, but it is 
no matter for that, God gave them leave. Therefore let us carry ourselves 
patiently in all troubles, submitting ourselves under the mighty hand of 
God, from whom we have all evil of punishment. 

Ohj. Again, Here we have another mystery of divine providence. For 
it may be objected. What ! will God bring evil upon his own church and 
people ? upon the temple and place where his name is called upon, and 
that by idolaters. Where is divine justice now ? 

Sol. I answer. Hold thy peace, take not the balance out of God's hand. 
He knows what is better for us f than we ourselves. We must not call God 
to our bar, for we shall all appear before his. God useth servants and 
slaves to correct his sons ; worse men than his people to correct his people. 
It is his course so to do, when they of his own sin against him. For evil 
men many times make evil men good, when they are used as instruments 
to correct them ; as hei'e God useth wicked men to make his children good. 
So God makes a rod of Ashur, to make his evil children better. He useth 
slaves to correct his sons, because it is too base a service for the angels or 
good men to do. Therefore he useth the devil and his instruments to do 
it. Wherefore let us not call into question God's providence ; for when he 
will punish his people, he can hiss for a worse people ; for Egypt, or Ashur, 
or the like. So if he will punish England, he can hiss again for the Danes, 
or Normans, to punish his own people. Let us not boast we are God's 
people and they idolaters. No ; God can hiss for a baser people to punish 
his own servants. It is the will of God so to dispose, and the will of God 
is si<»tHm J»si<7/rt, the height of justice. God will have it so. Let us make 
our peace with him, and not demand why he doth thus and thus. 

* That is, ' Assyria.' Cf. Isa. x. 5.— O. 

t Qu. ' what is good for us, better ' V — Ed. 

88 THE saint's eefeeshing. 

* And so they brought the king word again.' I will but touch this in a 
word, and so make an end. 

Here we see that the messengers deal faithfully with Josiah. They 
brought the direct message which the prophetess did bid them, which was 
good for himself, but doleful for his estate. He was a gracious man, and 
God gave him gracious servants. 

Doct. 13. For God icill give good men faithful servants, that shall deal 
faithfully with them. As for the wicked, God will give them such servants 
that shall humour them to their own ruin. If they have a heart not desirous 
to hear the truth, if they be Ahabs, they shall have four hundred false pro- 
phets to lead them in a course to their own ruin. But Josiah had an upright 
heart, desiring to know the truth. Therefore God gave him a faithful pro- 
phetess to deal truly with him, and faithful messengers to bring the true answer. 

' Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and 
Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the 
men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the 
Levites, and all the people great and small,' &c. 

Which words shew what good king Josiah did upon the receipt of this 
message. As soon as ever he heard it, he did not suffer it to cool upon 
him. But when his spirit was stirred up, he did as a gracious king 
should do, he sent and gathered all the elders of Judah, and the inhabitants 
of Jerusalem, both great and small, and they went up to the house of the 
Lord, and there read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant 
which was found in the house of the Lord. 

Here, first, we see that Josiah gathered, as it were, a parliament and 
a council ; as also, in both Josiah and the people, we may behold an 
excellent and sweet harmony of state, when all, both king and priests, 
Levites and people, did meet amiably together. This was an excellent time, 
when there was such an harmony between king and people, that he no 
sooner commands but they obeyed him. 

But more particularly we learn, 

Doct. 14. That the care of the comvwmcealth and of the church is a duty 
helongiiig to the king, that the reformation both of church and common- 
wealth belongs unto the prince. There is a generation which think 
that the king must only take care for the commonwealth. But they 
have also power to look to religion. We see Josiah doth it, he is the keeper 
of both. Josiah hath a care of religion, and it doth become his place. He 
is a head, and it is befitting his relation. He is a father, not only to look 
to the temporal state, but to the church. 

The Donatists in Augustine's time did ask. What had the emperor to do 
with the church ? But it was answered that the emperor could not rule 
the commonwealth except he govern the church, for the church is a com- 
monwealth. So that we see, as a chief right, the ordering of the matters 
of religion belongs to the care of the prince. But there are two things in 
religion : first, intrinsecal, within the church, as to preach, administer the 
sacraments, and ordain ministers. These he ought not to do. But for 
those things that are without it, these belong unto him. If any of those 
that are placed in church or commonwealth, do not their duty, it is fitting 
for him to correct. He ought to set all a-going without, and to remove 
abuses, but not to meddle with the things within the church aforesaid, as 
to execute the same, but to oversee and govern their execution, and those 
persons whose proper office it is to execute them. 

This observe against the usurpation of the pope, and see the supremacy 



of king Josiali, that he is supreme over all ; not only over temporal persons, 
but over evangelical persons. For there was an high priest at that time 
and the Levites, but none were above king Josiah. 

Quest. Aj, but this was under the law, say the papists. 

Sol. 1. I answer, that this is a rule in divinity, that the gospel doth not 
take away or dissolve the laws of nature and reason. Therefore if the 
supremacy belonged to the prince then, surely now much more. Therefore 
saith one. We give respect to the emperor as next to God ; to God in the 
first place, and then to the emperor,* The ministers have power over the 
prince for to direct him and give him counsel, but yet they are not above 
him. A physician doth give directions for his patient. Is he therefore 
above him ? So a builder giveth direction for the building of the king's 
house. Is this any supremacy ? So the minister may give direction and 
counsel to the prince ; but hath he therefore any superiority above the 
prince ? Surely no. 

Sol. 2. In the second place, here we see who it is that called this parlia- 
ment. It was king Josiah. He was the first mover in calling of this 
council, for he was the head ; and had it not been a strange thing 
to have seen the foot move before the head ? The head must first give 
direction before any of the members can move. Therefore it is only in the 
authority of the king to gather a council, and none must gather a public 
assembly without authority from the king. 

The calling of assemblies belongs to the prince. If it be a general 
council, then it must be by the emperor ; if it be a national council, then 
by the king or prince of that nation ; if provincial, then first from the kmg 
or princes, as first movers of it, and so to others. As the heavens, and 
these celestial bodies over the earth, first move, and then all other after- 
ward, so kings ought first to move, and then all to follow. 

Use 1. If this be so, we see how the pope wrongfully takes this right of 
calling councils to himself, which properly belongs to the emperor ; for we 
know that for a thousand years after Christ the emperor called councils, if 
any were. But of late years the pope, encroaching upon the emperor, hath 
usurped this right of calling them, whenas you see no assemblies ought to 
be gathered without the authority of the prince. 

Though fasting be an excellent thing, yet public fasting must not be 
without the consent of the king. Let Christians have as much private 
fasting as they will, thereby to humble themselves, but public fasts must 
not be without the consent of the king ; for great matters are to be done 
by great motions. Here is a great matter of gathering a council. There- 
fore the head and body and all join together. As it is when the body is 
to do some great thing, all the members of the body stir together to do it, 
so it is with the commonwealth. When great matters are in hand, all 
must be joined together, as here king, priests, Levites, and all the people, 
both great and small, joined together for to prevent the judgment 

But what must we do if things be amiss ? I answer. Take the right 
course ; that is, go to God by prayer, and entreat him who hath the hearts 
of kings in his hands, to incline and stir up the hearts of princes for to 
reform abuses. Well, but what did the king do when he had gathered all 
the elders and inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem into the house of the 
Lord ? They went up thither to fast, and pray, and read the book of the 

* Tertullian. Cf. Apology, c. xxxiii. to xxxvi. — G. 

90 THE saint's kefkeshing. 

Eeformation makes all outward things fall into a good rule, but they are 
to be called only by the authority of the prince, and when a fit time and 
occasion requires. 

The papists brag much of the Council of Trent ; but if ever there was a 
conspiracy against Christ, it was in that council ; for the parties that had 
most oflended, and were most accused, and should have been judged, were 
the judges ; and the Holy Ghost, which should have been in the council, 
and should have been their judge, him they excluded, and received a foul 
spirit of antichrist sent unto them, in a cap- case* from Rome, whence they 
had all their counsel. Was not this a goodly council ? 

Again, In that Josiah gathered a council in time of public disorder and 
public danger, here we learn that it is not only lawful, but many times 
necessary, to gather assemblies and councils for reformation of abuses, both 
in church and commonwealth, which otherwise cannot be abolished. So 
councils are good to make canons, rules, and to prevent heresy ; yea, much 
good may be done by gathering of them, if they meet to a good end, for 
the good of the church, and the glory of God; for God who is willing and 
able to perform the good will be strongly amongst them. For if Christ by 
his Spirit hath promised to be in that assembly, ' where two or three are 
gathered together' upon good grounds, and to good ends, how much 
more will he be, when two or three hundreds are so gathered together ? 
But this must be done by the consent of authority, otherwise it would be 
an impeachment to government. So much briefly for this text, and for 
this time. 
* That is, a small case or travelling-box. Cf. Nares and Halliwell sub voce. — G. 

*;4* The frequent allusions in the preceding sermons, and throughout, to wars 
and accompanying evils abroad, receive interpretation from ' The Thirty Years' 
War,' which, beginning in 1618 and ending in 1648, was thus contemporary with 
the whole of Sibbes's public life.— G. 





' The Spiritual Favourite ' forms a small volume (18mo). The title-page is given 
below* Prefixed is a portrait of Sibbes, differing from the usual miniature one. 
He holds a book in his hand ; and underneath, in engraved letters, is this inscription, 
' The reverend, faithfull, and profitable Minister of Gods word, Eichard Sibbes, D:D : 
master of Katherine Hall, in Cambridge, and preacher of Grayes Inne, London.' 
The copy from which our reprint is taken is believed to be unique. I had searched for 
it in all tlie 'public' libraries of the kingdom, and advertised through innumerable 
channels, but utterly in vain ; nor could I hear of any one who had so much as seen 
it, when, through the spontaneous kindness of W. E. Whitehouse, Esq., Birming- 
ham, I was unexpectedly put in possession of it. It becomes me thus publicly and 
cordially to acknowledge my obligation to Mr Whitehouse. G. 

* THE 





By the late learned, and reve- 
rend Divine Richard 
S I B B s Doctor 
in Divinity. 

Published by tlie Authors owne 

appointment, subscribed with his hand ; 

to prevent unperfect Copies. 

Proverbs 29. 26. 
Many seelce the Rulers favour, but e- 
very man's judgement commeth from the 


Printed by Thomas Paine, for 

Ralph Mabb. 1640. 


Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy ser- 
vant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name ; and 
prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant hir)i mercy in, the sight 
of this man. — Neh. I. 11. 

In the ninth verse the holy man minds God of his promise made to his 
people, that if they should ' turn unto him, and keep his commandments, 
and do them, though they were cast out to the^ utmost parts of heaven, 
yet he would gather them thence,' &c., ver. 9. ' I will touch a little on 
them, [on the] two verses, and then come to that I mean to dwell on, 
from the words read. 

' If you turn unto me, and keep my commandments.' There is no pro- 
mise of mercy but to those that turn. The Scripture is peremptory in 
denial of mercy to such as go on in their sins. Heaven could not brook* 
the angels themselves, having sinned ; and neither such, nor such ' shall 
enter into the kingdom of heaven.' Yet how many are there that bless 
themselves that it shall go well with them, though they cast off all God's 
yokes and divine bonds, that might bow them to better courses, as if words 
were but wind ; when we see here God made his word good against his 
own dear people, * If ye sin, I will scatter you to the farthest parts of the 
world,' ver. 8. We see in the former verse, ver. 7, a proud, presumptuous 
sinful disposition may slight God, and the messengers of the word and all, 
now when we come to threaten ; but when God comes to execute, will he 
shake it off then ? Will swearers and blasphemers and filthy persons shake 
off the execution as they can the threatenings ? God saith, none that are 
such shall enter into heaven, ' but his wrath shall smoke against them, and 
shall bo as a fire that shall burn to hell,' against such persons as ' bless 
themselves' in wicked courses, Deut. xxix. 20 ; and when God comes to 
the execution, they desire ' the mountains to fall upon them,' Rev. vi. IG. 
There are none more presumptuous against the threatenings, and none 
more base and fearful when it comes to execution. As we see in presump- 
tuous and profane Belshazzar, that was quafiing in ' the bowls of the tem- 
ple,' and scorning religion and God, when there comes a handwriting on 
the wall, ' his knees knock together and his joints tremble,' Dan. v. 6. So 
* That is, = ' suffer, enduro.'— G. 


let there be any evidence of execution, and we see all the tyrants in the 
book of God, and that have been in the world, that have trifled at religion, 
of all men they are most disconsolate and fearful, as we see in Belshazzar 
and others. 

I beseech you therefore take heed. God will seal all his threatenings 
with executions in due time, as he did to his own people. What is the rea- 
son we should promise ourselves more immunity than they had ? 

' If ye turn and keep my commandments, and do them.' Here are three 
conditions. ' Though you were cast to the utmost parts of the world, I 
will gather you thence,' 

' If you turn.' The holy man Nehemiah puts God in mind of his pro- 
mise, and his argument is from the like, and indeed from the less to the 
greater. Because God would rather of both, perform his promises than his 
threatenings, because mercy is his own proper work. Now, as he had 
been just in punishing his people, so he would be merciful in restoring of 
them again ; therefore he saith, ' Return and keep my commandments and 
do them, and though ye were scattered to the utmost parts of the earth, 
yet I will gather you thence.' And he did gather them thence upon their 
repentance ; he did perform his promise at length. 

Beloved, the full accomplishment of this yet remains ; for this people to 
this day, since the death of Christ, since they drew the guilt of that sacred 
blood on them, they are scattered about the earth to every nation, and 
have not a foot of land of their own, but are the scorn and hissing of 
nations. Notwithstanding, this promise will be performed. Upon their 
repentance, God will bring them again. As St Paul calls it a kind of a resur- 
rection, the conversion of the Jews, so it is true of us all. Though we were 
scattered as dust, as we shall be in the grave ere long turned to dust, God 
will gather the ashes ; he will gather all those parts of ours. Even as his 
power gathereth his people together, so his power at length will gather us 
all. We have his promise for the one as well as the other. 

Therefore let us comfort ourselves with the performance of this promise, 
for the performance of the grand promise of the resurrection. Indeed, the 
grand promise of the resurrection is the ground of the performance of all 
other promises. As you have it in Ezekiel, concerning the dry bones : 
saith God, ' I will cloihe these dead bones with flesh and skin,' &c., ' there- 
fore I will restore you again,' Ezek. xxxvii. 1, seq. God that will restore 
our dust and bring our bodies together, that were scattered here and there, 
he will restore us out of our sickness and trouble, if it stand with his glory 
and our good. 

Now, after the argument that he useth to persuade God from his word 
of threatening and promise, he comes to the argument from their relation. 

! * These are thy servants.' 

'' Though sinful servants, yet they are thy servants. * These are thy 
people.' Thou hast no other people in the world but these, and ' thou art 
their God.' He pleads from former favours. ' Thou hast redeemed them 
by thy great power and strong hand.' 

It is a good argument to plead with God for former favours : because 

' there is no shadow of change in him,' James i. 17 ; he is always like 

himself; he is never drawn dry. And it is a great honour to go to him 

for new favours upon former, because he hath an infinite supply. We may 

raw so much from men as they have not afterwards to make good, but 

e cannot honour God more than to go to him with a large faith, to fetch 


large favours from him. The more he gives, the more he can give, and 
the more he is willing to give. * To him that hath shall be given,' Mat. 
xiii. 12. We cannot honour God more than to go to him upon former 
favours and with enlarged desires. * Thou hast redeemed us, and been 
gracious to us before,' Ps. cvii. 2. 

We may much more take this argument in our mouths, and press the 
majesty of God. ' Thou hast redeemed us,' not out of Egypt or Babylon, 
the land of the north, but ' with the blood of thy Son,' from hell and dam- 
nation ; and therefore thou canst redeem us from this petty misery, from 
these enemies. We may allege that grand favour to all other petty redemp- 
tions, whatsoever they are. He that hath given us Christ, that ' hath not 
spared his own Son, but gave him to death for us all, how shall he not 
with him give us all things else ? Rom. viii. 32. He that hath been so 
large and bountiful as to give us his own Son, that gift to admiration* — 

* So God loved the world,' John iii. 16 — how cannot we plead with him for 
all other favours whatsoever, whether they concern the life of grace or glory, 
or our present condition while we live in this world ? We may plead it 
much more I say, * Thou hast redeemed us.' But these things I will not 
press further now. 

In the eleventh verse he comes to press it still, and repeats that which 
he had said before, * Lord, I beseech thee, let thine ear be attentive to the 
prayer of thy servant, and of thy servants that desire to fear thy name.' 

* Let thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servants.' It is a prayer ; 
and thou art * a God hearing prayer.' They be thy servants, and thou 
regardest thy servants. Here are but a few petitions in this large request : 

* remember,' ♦ be attentive,' and ' give me favour.' The most of the prayer 
is spent in a preparative considering the attributes of God, and in confession 
and strong reasons from the word, of promises and threatenings, and from 
their relation ; and then he makes good the relation, < We are thy servants, 
because we desire to fear thy name.' 

To shew that indeed : 

: It is an excellent skill and art in prayer, to have strong arguments. 
'" Then the suit comes off easily, as in Ps. xc. It is a prayer of Moses, 
the man of God ; and yet the least part of the psalm is prayer : ' Teach 
us to number our days,' &c., ver. 12. That is all the petition. Though 
the petition be short, yet it is efficacious, when the heart is warmed and 
strengthened with strong reasons before ; when the heart is elevated and 
raised with the consideration of the majesty and the truth of God ; and 
when the heart is strengthened with strong convincing reasons, that God 
will hear when we press him with his word ; I say, when the heart is thus 
raised and warmed, all the petitions come easily off. 

Therefore, it is an excellent thing, beloved, to study the Scriptures, and 
to study all the arguments whereby holy men have prevailed with God in 
Scripture ; and to see in what case those arguments were used. They are 
of use and force to prevail with God. 

It is a pitiful thing now, for Christians under the glorious light of the 
gospel, to come to God only with bare, naked petitions (if they come from 
a true heart, they have their force that God should regard them), and have 
not reasons to press God out of his own word. They cannot bind God 
with his own promise, nor with arguments that he hath been bound with 
before. Let a child but cry to the father or mother, there is relief pre- 
^ That is, 'wonder.' — G. 


sently for the very cry (a). But if it be not one that is a child, but is of 
grown years, the father looks for arguments that are moving to press him 
with. So here, Nehemiah he presseth God with moving and strong argu- 
ments, and he repeats and forceth them. He doth not only allege them, 
but enforceth them : ' Lord, I beseech thee, let thine ear be attent to 
the prayer of thy servant, and of thy servants that desire to fear thy name.' 

He desireth God to be ' attentive.' He presseth God ; and indeed he 
doth it to warm his own heart, for when we have humbled our heart low 
enough, and broken it with the consideration of our own unworthiness, and 
then warmed it with the consideration of God's goodness, and strengthened 
it with the consideration of God's promise and truth, then we are sure of 
a gracious success. 

' Let thine ear be attent to the prayer of thy servant, and of thy servants.' 

How did they know that they ivere thine ? 

Because there was no other people in the world that knew God but 
they. And he knew that the saints, wherever they were, had a spirit of 
prayer, and would remember the case of the church. Therefore he saith, 
remember ' my prayer and the prayer of thy servants.' For if ' the prayer 
of one righteous man prevailethmuch,' James, v. 16, much more the prayer 
of many. If there had been but ten righteous in Sodom, Sodom had been 
preserved. Now this he allegeth to God, ' remember the prayer of thy 
servant,' of mine, and the prayer of thy servants. As TertuUian, an ancient 
father, saith very well, ' When men join together, they offer a holy kind of 
violence to God' (b). Prayer is a kind of wrestling and contending with 
God, a striving with him. ' Let me alone,' saith God to Moses, Exod. 
xxxii. 10. It is a binding of him with arguments and promises of his own, 
and it is so forcible, that he desires, as it were, to be let alone. Now, if 
the prayer of one be a wrestling, and striving, and forcing of him, as it 
were, against his will, that he said, ' Let me alone,' as if he could do 
nothing except he gave over praying, what are the prayers of many, when 
there is a multitude of them ? 

Therefore we may look for a comfortable issue of our prayers and humi- 
liation that is performed at this time.* The desires of so many Christian 
souls touched with the Spirit of God, and with the case of the church, 
which God doth tender,f cannot be ineffectual. It must needs draw plenty 
of blessings from heaven. I will not enter into the commonplace of prayer, 
having spoken of it upon another occasion ; but surely you see the holy man 
Nehemiah stood so much upon it, that he hoped to speed, because he and 
others prayed : holy Daniel, and others with him. It was such a gracious 
messenger to send to heaven for help and for all good, that Daniel, though 
it cost him his life, that he should be cast into the lion's den, he would not 
omit it for his life. Take away prayer, and take away the life and breath 
of the soul. Take away breath and the man dies ; as soon as the soul of 
a Christian begins to live he prays (c). As soon as Paul was converted, 
'Behold he prayeth,' Acts ix. 10. A child, as soon as he is born, he cries, 
and a Christian will not lose his prayer for his life, as we see in holy 
Daniel. For what is all the comfort that he hath, but that that is derived 
from God ? and God will be sued untp for all the favours he bestows. 
Whatsoever is from his favour, it comes as a fruit of prayer for the most 
part. Though he go beyond our desires many times, yet ordinarily, what 
we have if we be his children, we have it as a fi'uit of prayer. Therefore, 

* A ' National Humiliation ' by royal proclamation' — G. 
t That is, = ' care for,' regard. — G. 


I beseech you, let us be stirred up to this duty, as we see Nehemiah here : 
* Remember the prayer of thy servant,' &c. 

And when we pray to God, let us press him, as we see here, ' Be atten- 
tive,' verse 6, and here again, ' be attentive.' He presseth upon God. It 
is no sinful tautology to come again and again. God loves to hear the 
same song again and again. This music is not tedious but pleasing to him. 
And this pressing is for us to warm our hearts ; perhaps one petition will 
not warm them, and when they are warmed by a second, let us labour to 
warm them more and more, and never give over till we have thoroughly 
warmed our hearts. 'Be attentive, be attentive to my prayer;' and if 
mine will not prevail, be attentive to the prayers of others ; let the prayers 
of all prevail — ' the prayer of thy servant, and of thy servants.' 

But how doth he make it good, they are thy servants ? 

* They desire to fear thy name.' 

Empti/ relations have no comforts in them : to profess one's self a servant, 
and not to make it good that he is a servant. We must make good the 
relation we stand in to God, before we can claim interest in the favour of 
God by our relation. Servants, and Christians, and professors — here are 
glorious titles ; but if they be empty titles, if we cannot make them good 
when we come to God with them, — we cannot say we have any interest 
in God from empty titles, — it is rather an aggravation of our sin. 

God will be honoured in all those that come near him, either in their 
obedience, or in their confusion. Therefore here the holy man did not 
think it enough to say, * Thy servant, and thy servants, but who desire to 
fear thy name.' 

He goes to make it good that he was the servant of God, not from any 
outward thing, but from his inward disposition, * the fear of God,' which I 
will not now stand to speak largely of. God requires the heart ; and reli- 
gion is most in managing and tuning the affections, for they are the wind 
that carries the soul to every duty. A man is like the dead sea without 
affections. Religion is most in them. The devil hath brain enough, he 
knows enough, more than any of us all. But then he hates God. He hath 
no love to God, nor no fear of God, but only a slavish fear. He hath not 
this reverential fear, childlike fear. Therefore let us make it good that 
we are the servants of God, especially by our affections, and chiefly by this 
of fear, which is put for all the worship of God. It is put instead of those 
conditions spoken of verse the 9th, ' If you turn to me, and keep my com- 
mandments, and do them,' then I will make good my promise. Now, saith 
he, taking up the same strength of argument, ' We desire to fear thy 
name.' As if he should have said, we turn to thee and obey thy command- 
ments, and desire to do them. It is all one. * We desire to fear thy 
name,' for those that fear God will turn to him ; and to desire to obey his 
commandments and to do them, it is all one as to do them. If a man 
should do them, and not from the fear of God, all were nothing but a 
carcase of obedience. I will not stand longer on that. 

How doth he make it good that he feared the name of God ? 

He makes it good from this, that he had good desires. * We desire 
to fear thy name.' We desire it for the present, and for the time to 
come ; whence we will observe two or three things shortly, as may be 
useful to us. First of all, out of this, that this desire to fear the name 
of God is brought as an argument to prevail in prayer, we may observe 



Those that tvill jjrevail with God in jjrayer, must look to the bent of their 
souls for the time to come, and for the present. 

' Eegard thy servants that desire to fear thy name.' For to come to God 
without such a frame of soul as this, to desire to please God in all things 
for the present, and for the time to come, it is to come as God's enemy ; 
and will God regard his enemies ? When one comes with a purpose to live 
in any sin, without a desire for the time to come, to regard all God's com- 
mandments, he comes as God's enemy, he comes as it were with his dagg* 
to shoot at God, he comes with his weapon. "Who will regard the petition 
of a man that comes to wound him at the same time ? "When a man comes 
to God with a purpose to sin, he comes to wound God at the same time, as 
an enemy, and is he like to speed ? For what are our sins, but that that 
makes us enemies to God ? They are opposite to him as can be, they 
make us hateful to God. Therefore we must be able to say with good 
Nehemiah, when we come to God, to make it good that we are servants 
indeed, ' JVe desire to fear thy name.' As Jeremiah tells them, Jer. vii. 10, 
' "Will you steal, and oppress, and commit adultery, and yet stand before 
me ?' "Will you do this and this villany, and stand before me ? ' What 
hast thou to do,' saith God, Ps. 1. 16, seq., ' to take my name into thy 
mouth, and hatest to be reformed ?' If we hate to be reformed, and do not 
desire to serve God for the time to come, what have we to do to take his 
name into our mouths, especially in the holy exercise of prayer ? Ps. 
Ixvi. 18, ' If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my 
prayer.' If a man do but regard to live in iniquity for the time to come, 
the Lord will not hear his prayer. Therefore, if we will be able to prevail 
with God in our petitions, we must say with holy Nehemiah, * We desire 
for the time to come to fear thy name.' I beseech you, let us remember it. 

And then, to omit other things, ' we desire to fear thy name,' we see that 

JReliriion especially is in holy desires. 

The greatest part of Christianity is to desire to be a sound Christian with 
all his heart. Religion is more in the affections of the soul than in the 
effects and operations. It is more in the resolutions and purpose of the 
soul, than in any effects we can yield to God. There is much desire in all 
our performances. Therefore saith the holy man here, ' We desire to fear 
thy holy name.' 
^ Why are desires such trials of the truth of grace ? 

Because they are the immediate issues of the soul. Desires and thoughts, 
and such like, they are produced immediately fi'om the soul, without any 
help of the body, or without any outward manifestation. They shew the 
temper and frame of the soul. Thereupon God judgeth a man by his 
desires ; and that which he desires, if it be a true desire, he shall have and 
be partaker of. The godly man desires to serve God all the days of his 
life, and for ever he shall do it. A wicked man desires to offend God if 
he might hve everlastingly. God looks upon him as his desire is. He 
shall not alway sin here ; but because he hath an infinite desire of sin, he 
shall be punished in hell eternally. God looks upon him as he desires. 
God values men by their desires. 

But how are the truth of these desires known ? 

I will name a few signs. The truth of those desires may be tried thus : 

1. If they be constant desires and not flashes ; for then they come from a 

* That is, = pistol. Cf. Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaisms and Provincialisms, 
sub voce, 2 vols. 4to, 1852. — G. 




new nature. Nature is strong and firm. Art is for a turn to serve a turn. 
When men personate a thing, they do it not long. Creatures that are 
forced to do so and so, they return to their own nature quickly ; but when 
a man doth a thing naturally, he doth it constantly. So, constant desires 
argue a sanctified frame of soul and a new creature. They argue that the 
image of God is stamped upon the soul. Thereupon we may know that 
they are holy desires, that they spring from a holy soul, if they be constant, 
if they be perpetual desires, and not as a torrent that is vented foe the 
present on a sudden, and then comes to nothing after. They are constant. 

2. And likewise, if these desires be hearty, strong desires ; and not only 
strong, but gromng desires — desire upon desire, desire fed with desire still, 
never satisfied till they be satisfied. Strong and growing desires argue the 
truth of desires ; as indeed a child of God hath never grace enough, never 
faith enough, never love enough, or comfort enough, till he come to heaven. 
They are growing desires more and more. The Spirit of God, that is the 
spring in him, springs up still further and further, till it spring to ever- 
lasting life, till it end in heaven, where all desires shall be accomplished, 
and all promises performed, and all imperfections removed. Till then 
they are growing desires still. ' We desire to fear thy name,' and to please 
thee in all things. 

3. Again, True desires, they are not only of the favour of God, hut of graces 
for the altering of our nature] as Nehemiah here, he desires not the favour 
of God so much as he desires to fear God's name. Now when desire is of 
graces, it is a holy desire. You have not the worst men but would desire, 
with Balaam, ' to die the death of the righteous,' &c.. Numb, xxiii. 10, 
that they might enjoy the portion of God's people. But to desire grace, 
that is opposite to corrupt nature as fire and water, this is an argument of 
a holy principle of grace in us, whence this desire springs, when we desire 
that that is a counter poison to corrupt nature, that hath an antipathy to 
corruption. Therefore, when a man from the bottom of his heart can 
desire. Oh that I could serve God better ! that I had more liberty to serve 
him ! that I had a heart more enlarged, more mortified, more weaned from 
the world ! Oh that I could fear God more ! And of all graces, if it be a 
true desire, it is of such graces as may curb us of our sinful delights, and 
restrain us of our carnal liberty, and knit us near to God, and make us 
more heavenly-minded. The desire of these graces shew a true temper of 
soul indeed. 

4. True desire is carried to grace as xvell as glory, and the desire of heaven 
itself. A true spirit that is touched with grace, with the Spirit of God, it 
desireth not heaven itself so much for the glory, and peace, and abundance 
of all contentments, as it desires it, that it is a place where it shall be freed 
from sin, and v/here the heart shall be enlarged to love God, to serve God, 
and to cleave to God for ever, and as it is a condition wherein he shall 
have the image and resemblance of Jesus Christ perfectly upon his soul. 
Therefore we pray, * Thy kingdom come ;' that is, we desire that thou 
wouldst rule more and more largely in our souls, and subdue all opposite 
power in us, and bring into captivity all our desires and affections ; and let 
' Thy kingdom come' more and more. ' Let thy will be done by us,' and 
in us more and more, ' in earth as it is in heaven.' Here is a sweet prayer 
now serving to the first petition, the hallowing of God's name, when we 
desire more to honour God, and to that purpose that he may rule in us 
more and make us better. These desires argue an excellent frame of soul ; 
as we see in Nehemiah, ' our desire is to fear thy name.' 


5. True desires are likewise to the means of salvation, and to the means 
of salvation as they convey grace, as sincere milk ; as you have it, 1 Pet. 
ii. 2, ' As new-horn habes, desire the sincere milk of the word.' Where a 
man hath holy desires of any grace, and hath them in truth, he will desire 
those means whereby those graces may most effectually be wrought in his 
heart. Therefore he will hear the word as the word of God. He comes 
not to hear the word because of the eloquence of the man that delivers it, 
that mingles it with his own parts. He comes not to hear it as the tongue 
of man ; but he sees God in it. It is the powerful word of God, because 
there goes the efficacy of the Spirit with it to work the graces he desires. 

Therefore a man may know by his taste of divine truth whether he desire 
grace. He that desires grace desires the means that may convey grace, 
and especially so far as they convey grace, ' As new-born babes, desire 
the sincere milk of the word.' You cannot still a child with anything but 
milk. He desires no blending or mixing, but only milk. So a true Chris- 
tian desires divine truths most, because the Spirit of God is effectual by 
them to work grace and comfort in him. I will not enlarge myself in the 

Use. The comfortable observation hence is this, that weak Christians that 
Jind a debility, andfaintness, and feebleness in their 2)erfonnances, hence they 
may comfort themselves by their desire to fear God, and to worship God, 
and to serve him, if their desires be true. Therefore, in Isaiah xxvi. 8, the 
church allegeth it to God, ' In the way of thy judgments have we sought 
thee,' &c. ' The desire of our souls is towards thy name.' They bring it 
as a prevailing argument to God. So when we come to God, ' The desire 
of our souls is toward thy name.' Lord, our endeavours are weak and 
feeble, but ' the desire of our souls is to thy name,' and ' thou wilt not quench 
the smoking flax,' Mat. xii. 20. Therefore we come to thee with these 
weak and poor desires that we have. ' The Lord will fulfil the desires of 
them that fear him,' Ps. cxlv. 19, if they be but desires, if they be true, 
and growing, and constant desires, and desires of grace as well as of happi- 
ness, as I shewed before. 

The reason why God accepts them is partly because they spring from his 
own Spirit. These desires they are the breathings of the Spirit. For even 
as it is in places where fountains and springs are digged up, they are known 
and discovered by vapours ; the vapours shew that thei'e is some water 
there, some spring, if it were digged up. So these desires, these breath- 
ings to God for grace and comfort, these spiritual breathings, they shew 
that there is a spring within and Spirit within, whence these vapours and 
desires come. Therefore they are accepted of God, because they spring 
from his own Spirit. 

And because they are jiointed to heavenivard , to shew that a man is turned 
for it is put here instead of turning, ' Turn ye to me, saith the Lord,' ver. 9 
and he answereth here instead of turning, ' My desire is to fear thy name, 
because, when the desire is altered, then the frame of the soul is altered, 
a man is turned another way. The desire is the weight of the soul. What 
carries the soul but desire ? Now, when the soul is carried another way 
than before, it argues an alteration of the frame ; therefore it pleaseth God 
to accept of them. 

I beseech you, let us often enter into our own souls, and examine what 
our desires are, which way the bent of our souls is ; what cause we would 
have to flourish and prevail in the world, Christ's or antichrist's ; for God 
esteems us by the frame of our desires. * Who desire to fear thy name.'^ 



, • And prosper, I pray tliee, thy servant this day.' 

' Now he comes to his petition, ' Prosper, I pray thee, thy servant thi3 
day.' He doth not capitulate* with God for particular matters much— 
for he knew he had to deal with an all-wise God,— but he commends his 
petition in general, ' Prosper, I pray thee, thy servant,' &c. He was to 
attend the king, and he was in his attendance to mind the state of the 
church, for the re-edifying the walls and gates of Jerusalem. Now saith 
he in general, 'Prosper thy servant.' He leaves it to God how and in 
what manner, being to deal, as I said, with an infinite wise God ; only ho 
prays in general, ' Prosper thy servant this day.' 

He comes again with his relation of ' servant,' to teach us alway when 
we come to God to look in what relation we stand to him, whether we be 
true servants or no, what work we do for him, in what reference we do 
what we do ; whether we do it to please him as servants or no. I said 
something of the relation of servant before. I will add a little here, because 
he repeats it four or five times in this short prayer. 

In all our services we should look to God ; for our aim in our works 
shew what they are, whether they come from servants or np. As the stamp 
upon a token makes it, if there be a good stamp on it ; it is not the matter 
that makes it current. A stamp on silver makes it current as well as gold, 
though the metal of gold be better. So when things are done, because God 
commands them, to please God, as a service to him, this makes it good 
that we are servants indeed, that the relation is good. When we go about 
the service of the church or country, or place we live in, to think I do 
God service here, and do it as a service to God, who will be honoured and 
served in our service to others, herein I am a good servant. Though the 
matter of my service be a common, base, and mean matter, yet it hath a 
stamp upon it. It is God's will. God hath placed and planted me here, 
and he will be served of me in this condition at this time, though the 
matter of it be an ordinary thing. I know it may help the good of the 
church. It hath reference to the will of God and the good of the church. 
Thus if we do what we do with an eye to God in the place where he hath 
set us, that we do it as to him, we are God's servants, whatsoever the 
work is. 

And let us remember oft to think of it, to bring it in our prayers. 
* Master,' say they when they were ready to be drowned, ' dost thou not care 
that we perish ? ' Mark iv. 38. They put him in mind of the relation they 
were in to him. So when we can put God in mind of our relation—' Father, 
we are thy children ;' ' Lord, we are thy servants'— it will strengthen our 
faith and hope of all good. Will a master suffer his servant to miscarry 
in his service ? Surely God will never turn away true-hearted servants 
that have served him a long time. It puts us in mind of our duty, and 
serves to strengthen our faith ; for as it is a word of service on our part, 
so it is a promising word of all good from God. Doth he expect that 
masters should be good to their servants because they have a Master m 
heaven ? and will not the great Master of heaven be good to his servants . 
You see how he follows the relation. 

' Prosper thy servant this day.' 

What is included in this word 'prosper?' n ^i, f 

It includes not only success, which is the main upshot of all_, but all that 
tends to good success. ' Prosper thy servant this day ;' that is, direct thy 
* That is, = ' make terms,'— G. 



servant this day how to do and to carry himself. And likewise assist thy 
servant. AVhen thou shalt direct him, assist him by thy strength, direct 
him by thy wisdom, prosper him with thy grace, give him good success in 
all. It includes direction, and assistance, and good success. In that he 
saith, ' prosper thy servant,' it includes these things. 

First of all, that in ourselves there is neither direction, nor wisdom, nor 
ahilitij enough for success. We have not power in ourselves to bring things 
to a comfortable issue. So it enforceth self-denial, which is a good disposi- 
tion -when we come to God in praj^er. 

2. And then again, to attribute to God all, both wisdom, and strength, 
and goodness, and all. Here is a giving to God the glory of all, when he 
saith, ' Prosper thy servant this day.' 

3. Then in the third place, here is a dependence xipon God ; not only 
acknowledging these things to be in God, but it implies a dependence upon 
God for these : ' Prosper me. Lord.' I cannot prosper myself, and thou 
who art the Creator hast wisdom, and strength, and goodness enough. 
Therefore I depend upon thee, upon thy wisdom for direction, and upon 
thy strength for assistance. I depend upon thy goodness and all for a 
blessed issue. Here is dependence. 

4. Again, in the fourth place, here is a recommendation of all hy prayer ; 
a recommendation of his inward dependence upon God for all. Now, Lord, 
' prosper thy servant.' 

So that when we come to God for any prosperity and good success, let 
us remember that we bring self-denial, and an acknowledgment of all excel- 
lency to be in God, to guide, and direct, and assist, and bless us. And 
remember to depend upon him, to cast ourselves on him, to bring our 
souls to close with the strong, and wise, and gracious God, that God and 
our sonls may close together. And then commend all by prayer ' to cast 
ourselves and our aifairs, and to roll ourselves,' as the Scripture saith, and 
all upon God, Ps. Iv. 22 ; and then we shall do as the holy man Nehemiah 
did here, we shall desire to good purpose that God would ' prosper us.' 
Indeed, ' it is not in man to guide and direct his own way,' Jer. x. 23, 
We are dark creatures, and we have not wisdom enough. And we are 
weak creatures. We have no strength. We are nothing in our own 
strength. And for success, alas ! a thousand things may hinder us from 
it. For success is nothing but the application of all things to a fit issue, 
and foreseeing all things that may hinder, and a removing of them. Now 
who can do this but God ? 

One main circumstance that besiegeth and besets a business may hinder 
an excellent business. Who can see all things that beset a business ? all 
circumstances that stand about a business ? Who can see all circumstances 
of time, and place, and persons, that are hindrances or furtherances ? It 
must be an infinite wisdom that must forsee them ; man cannot see them. 
And when men do see them, are there not sudden passions that come up 
in men, that rob them of the use of their knowledge ? that though they 
know them before, yet some sudden passion of fear or anger may hinder 
the know^ledge of a man, that he is in a mist when he comes to particulars. 
When he comes to apply the knowledge that he had before, he knows not 
what to do. So that unless God in a particular business give success, who 
is infinitely wise and powerful to remove all hindrances, there will be no 

As it is in the frame of the body, it stands upon many joints ; and if any 
be out of tune, the whole body is sick. And as it is in a clock, all the 


wheels must be kept clean and in order, so it is in the frame of a busi- 
ness. There must all the wheels be set a-going ; if one be hindered, there 
is a stop in all. It is so with us in the affairs of this world. When we 
deal with kings and states, if all the wheels be not kept as they should, 
there will be no success or prosperity. Nehemiah knew this well enough ; 
' prosper thou therefore.' 

He meant not to be idle when he said this, * prosper thou ;' for he after 
joined his own diligence and waited. Therefore join that. If we would have 
our prayers to God and our dependence upon him effectual for prosperity 
and success, be careful to use the means as he did. He stands before the 
king, and observed how he carried himself, to see what words would come 
from the king, and then he meant after to put in execution whatsoever God 
should discover. 

Use. It should teach us to make this use of it, when we deal in any 
matter, to go to God to prosper it, and give success, and direction, and assist- 
ance, and a blessed issue. For God, that we may alway depend upon him, 
he keeps one part in heaven still. When he gives us all likelihood of 
things upon earth, yet he reserves still the blessing till the thing be done. 
Till there be a consummation of the business, he keeps some part in heaven. 
Because he would have us sue to him, and be beholding to him, he will 
have us go up to heaven. Therefore, when we have daily bread, we must 
pray for daily bread, because the blessing comes from him. Our bread 
may choke us else. We may die with it in our mouths, as the Israelites 
did. But when we have things, we must depend on him for a blessing ; 
all is to no purpose else. 

Let us learn by this a direction to piety and holy walking with God ; in 
all things to pray to God for a blessing. And to that purpose we must be 
in such a condition of spirit as we may desire God to prosper us ; that is, 
we must not be under the guilt of sin when we come to God to prosper us. 
And we must be humble. God will not prosper a business till we be 
humble. As in the case of the Benjamites, when they came, they were 
denied the first, second, and third time. Till they prayed and fasted, and 
were thoroughly humbled, they had their suit denied, Judges xx. 3G, seq. 
If the cause be never so good, till we be humbled, God will not prosper 
it, because we are not in frame for the blessing ; if we had it, we would be 
proud. God in preventing* mercy and care, will grant nothing till we be 
humbled. Therefore let us see that we be humble, and see that the 
matter be good that we beg God to bless and prosper us in, or else we make 
a horrible idol of God. We make (with reverence be it spoken) a devil of 
God. Do we think that God Avill give strength to an ill business ? This 
is to make him a factor for mischief, for the devil's work. We must not 
come with such ' strange fire ' before God, to transform God to the con- 
trary to that he is ; but come with humble affections, with repentant souls 
for our former sins. And let the thing itself be good, that we may come 
without tempting of him ; let the cause be such that we may desire God's 
assistance, without tempting of him, as we do when it is good and when we 
come disposed. Then come with a purpose to refer all to his service. Lord, if 
thou wilt bless me in this business, the strength and encouragement I have 
by it, I M'ill refer it to thy further service. Let me have this token of love 
from thee, that I have a good aim in all, and then I am sm-e to speed well. 

' Prosper now thy servant.' 

* That is, ' anticipating.' — (}. 


It is an excellent point, if I had time to stand on it. I beseecli you, let 
it have some impression upon your hearts. 

What is the reason that God blasts and brings to nothing, many excellent 
endeavours and projects ? Men set upon the business of God, and of their 
calHngs, in confidence of their wit* and pride of their own parts. They 
carry things in the pride and strength of their parts. Men come as gods to 
a business, as if they had no dependence upon him for wisdom, or direction, 
or strength, v They carry things in a carnal manner, in a human manner, with 
human spirits. Therefore they never find either success, or not good success. 
Let us therefore commend all to God : ' Prosper thy servant.' Before he went 
about the business, holy Nehemiah he sowed prayers in God's bosom, and 
watered the seed with mourning ; as it is in this chapter, he mourned and 
prayed. When this business was sown with prayers, and watered with 
tears, how could he but hope for good success ! He mourned and prayed 
to God, ' Hear thy servant.' 

Now when we deal with things in a holy manner, we may, without tempt- 
ing God, trust him. That which is set upon in carnal confidence and pride, 
it ends in shame ; when men think to conceive things in wit, ay, and in 
faction and human affections, God will not be glorified this way. God will 
be glorified by humble dependent creatures, that when they have done the 
business, will ascribe all to him. ' Not unto us, but to thy name give 
the praise,' Ps. cxv. 1. The direction and assistance and blessing was 
thine. Saith God in Isa. 1., towards the end, ver. 11, * Go to now, ye that 
kindle a fire, walk in the light of your own fire : but be sure you shall end 
in sorrow.' You will kindle a fire of your own devices, and walk in the 
light of your fire ; you will have projects of your own, and be your own 
carvers : but be sure you shall lie down in darkness and discomfort, you 
shall lie down in sorrow. 

A proud unbroken heart accounts these poor courses. It is but a course 
of weak and poor spirits to pray and fast, and humble themselves to God, 
and to fear God. Alas ! what are these ? These are weak courses. I 
hope we have stronger parts and means to carry things. So they have a 
kingdom in their brain. What is the issue of these vain men, when God 
discovers all their courses to be vain at length, to be wind, and come to 
nothing ? * Prosper now thy servant,' saith he. 

Let us learn this lesson likewise. If we come to God in a particular 
business, that we are not so confident in, to be pleasing to God, yet in 
general to submit ourselves, ' Lord, prosper thy servant ; ' go before thy 
servant ; let me deal in nothing against thy will ; direct me what is for 
thy glory ; and not to prescribe or limit God. * Prosper thy servant this day.' 

' And grant him mercy in the sight of this man.' 

He comes more particularly to this request, ' Grant me mercy in the 
sight of this man.' We see that 

A Jcijif/ is a great organ or instrument to convey good things from God, the 
King of kings, to men. 

Therefore he prays that God would give him favour in the sight of the 
king. For a king is the first wheel that moves all other wheels, and as it 
were the sun of the commonwealth, or the first mover that moves all 
inferior orbs. Therefore in heavenly wisdom he desires God to give him 
fiivour with him ; for if he had that, the king could turn all the inferior 
orbs to his pleasure. Indeed, it were a point worthy enlarging, but that 
* That is, ' wisdom.' — G. 



it is not so seasonable for this time, the time being already spent. You 
see what great good God conveys by kings and princes. And when God 
means to do good to a church or state, he raiseth up ' nursing fathers and 
nursing mothers,' Isa. xlix. 23. He will raise up both kings and subordinate 
Nehemiahs, excellent men, when he hath excellent things to do. 

But the main thing here intended, which I will but touch, is, that con- 
sidering they stand in such a subordination to God as to be instruments 
to convey so much good or so much ill as they may, as it is said of 
Jeroboam, they either cause others to sin or to worship God, therefore we 
should do as good Nehemiah : he prays that he might find favour in his sight. 

A wise and holy prayer ! He begins at the head ; he goes to the spring 
of all good. Prayer is the messenger or ambassador of the soul. Being 
the ambassador of the soul, it goes to the highest, to the King of kings 
first ; to the Lord of lords first. It goes to the highest mover of all, and 
then desires him to move the next immediate subordinate mover, that is, 
the king, that he may move other orbs under him, that things may be 
carried by a gracious sweet course to a blessed issue. Therefore the 
observation hence is this, that when ive have to do anything idth great men, 
with Icings, dx., however, begin with the King of kings, and do all in heaven 
before we do it in earth ; for heaven makes the laws that earth is governed 
by. Let earth conclude what it will, there will be conclusions in heaven 
that will overthrow all their conclusions. Therefore in our prayers we 
should begin with God, and desire him with earnest and fervent entreaties 
that he would set all a-going, that he would set in frame these inferior 
causes. And when we have gotten what we would in heaven, it is easy to 
get in earth. Let us win what we desire in heaven at God's hands, and 
then what an easy thing is it to work with princes and other governors in 
state when we have gotten God once ! Hath not he ' the hearts of kings 
in his hand as the rivers of water,' Prov. xxi. 1, to turn this way or that 
there way ? As a skilful man derives water by this channel or by that, 
as he opens a vent for the water, so God opens a way to vent the deliber- 
ations and determinations of kings and princes, to run this way or that, to 
this good or that, as he pleaseth. Therefore considering that there is an 
absolute dependence of all inferior things from God, when we have to do 
with kings or great men, let us always begin with prayer. 

As Jacob, when he was to deal with Esau, he falls down and praj^s first ; 
and when he had gotten of God by prayer, God, that makes ' even of 
enemies friends,' he turned Esau's heart of an enemy to be a friend. And 
God put into Jacob's heart a wise course to efiect this, as to ofl'er a pre- 
sent, and to give him titles, ' My lord Esau,' &c.. Gen. xxxiii. 4. God, 
when he will effect a thing amongst men, and hear the prayers that are 
made to him for the favour of men, he will put into their hearts such ways 
whereby they shall prevail with men, as Jacob did with Esau. So Esther, 
before she goes to Ahasuerus, she got* in heaven first by prayer. When 
she had obtained of God by prayer, how placable and sweet was Ahasuerus 
to her ! So we see in other places of Scripture, when holy men have been 
to deal with men, they began with God. 

I beseech you therefore learn this point of Christian wisdom. If you 
would speed well, — as we all desire to speed well in our business, — especially 
those that have public employments, [this must be the course] that they 
would pray to God, that hath the hearts of kings and princes in his 
government and guidance, that he would make them favourable ; and not to 
* Spelled ' gate,' ». e., gat. — G. 



think to carry things in a violent course, for then God doth not usually 
give that good success ; but to carry things in a religious course to the 
King of heaven, and then to know in what terms to stand in all inferior 
things as may stand with the wall of God in heaven. 

If so be there be a dependence of all inferiors to God, then we must not 
offend God, and go against conscience, for any, because he is ' King of 
kings, and Lord of lords.' He doth not set up authority against himself, 
to disarm and disable himself. He never went to set up gods under him, 
to make him a cypher ; that he should make them gods, and God a man, 
or nobody, to alter all the frame of things. He never meant to set up any 
ordinance to nullify and make himself nobody. Therefore, I say, we ought 
to pray to God for kings, that so in our obedience we may be sure to do 
nothing against conscience for any creature. We must do all things that 
possible can be, that may procure the favour, and ingratiate us, because it 
is in vain to pray unless we use all possible means to win their favour ; 
but if it cannot be upon good terms, then ' whether to obey God or man, 
judge ye,' Acts v. 29. Aiid as the three young men, ' we take no thought 
to answer in this matter ; our God can defend us if he will,' Daniel iii. 16. 
And as Esther said, 'If I perish, I perish,' Esther iv. 16. When things 
are clear, we are to be resolute, yet reserving due respect to God's 
ordinance and to his lieutenant upon earth ; I say, always reserving due 
respect, and using means to win favour, and also to use prayer. 

Holy Nehemiah, he prays here ; and together with that, he attends upon 
the king. As good Jacob observed Esau, so all good means must be used, 
or else God will not bless our proceedings. 

Remember that all inferior governors whatsoever, they are subordinate 
and dependent, and therefore they must be regulated by a superior. They 
are limited, they are deperKleut, they are derivative. They are dependent 
upon God ; they are derived from him. Therefore, as the apostle saith 
that ' servants must obey their masters in the Lord,' Eph. vi. 5, so we must 
obey and do all * in the Lord.' That limitation must be always added ; 
but reserving that, it is a good thing to pray that there may be favour from 
the king, because it is of much consequence to bring business to a good 
issue. And with prayer, there must be a using means to get favour, always 
with this liberty, to do it so far as we can with preserving a good con- 

As they have a distinction among civilians, there is a parting with a 
thing cumulative and privative : cumulative, that is, when we part with a 
thing so as that we reserve the propriety ; * ])rivative, when we give away 
the propriety and all. Now, so God parts with nothing below, as to strip 
himself; but cumulative, he derives f authority to others, but reserves the 
propriety to himself. Therefore we must obey them in him, and with 
this limitation, as it may stand with his favour. 

To draw to a conclusion in a word. You see here that any good Chris- 
tian may be a good statesman in one good sense. What is that ? A good 
Christian hath credit in heaven, and he hath a spirit of prayer, and his 
prayer can set God on work ; and God can set the king on work ; and he 
can set his subjects on work. Now, he that can prevail with God to pre- 
vail with the gods upon earth here, surely such a man is a profitable man 
in the state. And you know, God he can alter all matters, and mould all 
things : it is but a word of his mouth. And what God can do, prayer can 
do ; for prayer binds God, because it is the prayer of faith ; and faith, as it 
* That is, property, ' possession.' — G. f That is, ' communicates,' bestows. — G. 



were, overcomes God. Now, prayer is tlie flame of faith, the vent* of 
faith ; and faith is a victorious, triumphant grace with God himself. If it 
be any, it is Christians that can prevail with God for a blessing upon a 
state. Then certainly there is no good Christian but is of excellent service 
in the state. Though in particular perhaps he hath not policy, and wisdom, 
and government, yet he hath God's ear to hear him, and he can pray to 
God that God would make the king and other subordinate magistrates 

You see what great good a good man may do in a state. ' The innocent 
man delivers the land,' as it is in Job sxii. 30. And the ' poor wise man 
delivers the city,' as it is in Eccles. ix. 15. A few holy, gracious men, that 
have grace and credit in heaven above, they may move God to set all things 
in a blessed frame below. And surely if this holy means were used, things 
would be better than they are ; and till this be used, we can never look for 
the good success and issue of things that otherwise we may hope for. 

Divers things might be spoken of the doctrinal part. I will give you 
but a word of it. That God hath our hearts in his (jovernment, more than 
u-e ourselves. I speak it to inform our judgment in a point of doctrine, 
whether God foresee and determine of things below upon foresight,^ which 
way they shall go ; or whether he foreordain that they shall go this way, 
because he directs them thus : that is to make God, God indeed. He 
determines that these things shall be, because he determines, in the series 
and order of causes, to bring things to pass, and to guide kings, and princes, 
and magistrates, and all, this way. Again, whether God hath set all men 
at liberty, in matters of grace especially, that they may apply graceat their 
liberty, which way they will ; and in foresight, which way they will apply 
their liberty, to determine thus or thus of them. This is to make every 
man's will a god, and to divest God of his honour, as if God could foresee 
the inclination of the creature, without foresight that he meant to incline 
it this way or that way. 

Can God foresee any entity, any thing that hath a being in nature or 
grace, without foresight to direct it this way or that way '? He cannot. 
This is to make him no God. We see God hath the hearts of kings in his 
power, and that is the ground of prayer for grace to them. Why should 
we pray for them, if they could apply their own will which way they would ? 
Why should we give thanks for that we have liberty to do this way or that 
way ? It stops devotion, and petition, and thanksgiving, to say that the 
creature hath liberty to apply itself, and God, seeing it would apply itself 
thus, determined so. Oh no. We must go to God. He hath set down 
an order and course of means ; and in the use of those means, desire him 
to guide us by his good Spirit, to enlighten our understandings, toguide 
our wills and affections by his Holy Spirit, because our hearts are in his 
government more than our own. If it were needful to prove it, I could 
prove it at large. If there had been such a liberty, good Nehemiah would 
never have made this prayer. But God doth strangely put thoughts and 
guide all, even of himself, as we may see excellently in the story of Esther. 
I will give you but that example and instance. What a strange thing was 
it that Ahasuerus could not sleep ; and when he could not sleep, to call for 
the book, and then that he should read of Mordecai, and thereupon to 
advance Mordecai. All this tended to the good of the church : it was a 
strange thing. And so in other things. It is a strange thing that God 
should put little thovghts and desires into great persons, and then follow 
* That is, ' outlet,' = utterance.— G, 


it with this circumstance and that ; and so bring things to pass. All this 
is from God. Except we hold this, that God rules all without, and espe- 
cially the hearts of men, where it is his especial prerogative to set up his 
throne, we shall never pray heartily or give thanks. And if we do pray 
and give thanks, he will put thoughts into governors' minds, strange 
thoughts and resolutions for the good of the church, that we could never 
have thought of, nor could come otherwise, but from the great God of 
heaven and earth. We shall see a strange providence concur to the good 
of all. But I must leave the enlargement of these things to your own 
thoughts and meditations.* 

* Here is added, ' Imprimatur. Thomas Wykes. August 24. 1639.' — G. 


(a) P. 96. — ' Let a child but cry to the father or mother, there is relief presently 
for the very cry.' Tennyson has finely put this : — 

' What am I ? 
An infant crying in the night, 
An infant crying for the light, 
And with no language but a cry.' — In 3Iemoriam, liii. 

(6) P. 96. — ' As Tertullian saith, ..." When men join together, they offer a holy 
kind of violence to God."' In his ' Apology ' the sentiment is found, e.g., c. xxxix. : 
' We are a body united in the profession of religion, in the same rites of worship, 
and in the bond of a common hope. We meet in one place, and form an assembly, 
that we may^ as it were, come before God in oneunited body, and so address him in prayer. 
This is a violence which is well-pleasing to God.' Cf. Temple Chevallier's excellent 
edition of the post-apostolical Letters and Apologies (8vo, 2d ed., 1851), in loc. 

(c) P. 96. — ' Take away prayer, and take away the life and breath of the soul. Take 
away breath, and the man dies ; as soon as the soul of a Christian begins to live, he 
prays.' This recalls the beautiful hymn of James Montgomery — 

• Prayer is the Christian's vital breath, 

The Christian's native air,' &c. G. 




' The Successful Seeker' appeared originally in ' Evangelical Sacrifices' (4to. 
1G40). Its separate title-page is given below.* For general title-page of the 
volume, see Vol. V. page 156. G. 


In two Sermons, on 
• Psalm E 27. 8. 


The late Learned and Reverend Divine, 

Rich. Sibbs. 

Doctor in Divinity, Mr. of Katheeine Hall 

in Cambridge, and sometimes Preacher 

to the Honourable Society of 


1 Cheon. 16. 11. 
SeeTte yee the Lord, and his strength : seeke his face 


Printed by T. B. for N. Bourne, at the Royall Exchange, 

and R. Harford, at the guilt Bible in Queenes-head 

Alley in Pater-noster-Row. 163Q. 


Whe7i tJwu saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, 
will Yseek.—VB. XXVII. 8. 

In the former verse, David begins a prayer to God, < Hear, Lord ; have 
mercy upon me, and answer me.' This verse is a ground of that prayer, 
' Seek ye my face,' saith God. The heart answers again, ' Thy face, Lord, 
will I seek ;' therefore I am encouraged to pray to thee. In the words are 

God's command and David's obedience. 

' Seek my face ; thy face, Lord, will I seek.' God's warrant and David's 
work answerable, the voice and the echo : the voice, ' Seek my face ; ' the 
rebound back again of a gracious heart, ' Thy face. Lord, will I seek.' 

' When thou saidst.' It is not in the original. It only makes way to 
the sense. Passionate speeches are usually abrupt : ' Seek my face ;' ' thy 
face. Lord, will I seek.' The first thing that I will observe from the 
encouragement is, that, 

Ohs. God shews himself to his iinderstandiny creature. 

God begins you see, ' Seek my face.' He must open his meaning and 
shew himself first. God comes out of that hidden light that he dwells in, 
and discovers himself and his will to his creature, especially in the word. 
It is our happiness now, that we know the mind and meaning of God. 

AVhat is the ground of this ? What need God stoop thus ? 

There is the same ground for it as that there is a God. These thincrs 
go in an undivided knot, God : the reasonable, understanding creature ; 
and religion, that ties that creature to God ; a discovery of* God what that 
religion shall be. 

For in the intercourse between God and man, man can do nothing 
except he hath his warrant from God. It is extreme arrogance for man to 
devise a worship of God. Do we think that God will sufi'er the creature to 
serve him as he pleaseth ? No. That were to make the creature, which 
is the servant, to be the master. It belongs to the master or lord to 
appoint the service. What master or lord will be served according to the 
liberty and wisdom and will of his servant ? And shall the great God of 
heaven and earth be worshipped and depended upon as man pleaseth, or 
from any encouragement from himself ? Shall not he design his own wor- 
ship ? He that singles out his own work makes himself master in that. 
* Tliat is, = ' l»j God.'— G. 


Therefore God begins with this command, ' Seek my face ;' and then the 
heart answereth, ' Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' God must first discover his 
mind, of necessity, to the creature. 

Scriptures might be forced hence to shew the duty owing from the 
creature, man, to God. For the creature must have a ground for what he 
doth. It must not be will-worship, infringit, &c. It is a rule, it weakens 
the respect of obedience that is done without a cause. Though a man doth 
a good deed, yet what reason, what ground have ye for this ? And that we 
may do things upon ground, God must discover himself; therefore he saith, 
' Seek my face.' 

It may be objected that everything proclaims this, to seek God. Though 
God had not spoken, nor his word, every creature hath a voice to say, 
' Seek God.' All his benefits have that voice to say, ' Seek God.' Whence 
have we them ? If the creature could speak, it would say, I serve thy 
turn that thou mayest serve God, that made thee and me. As the prophet 
saith, the rod and chastisement hath a voice. ' Hear the rod, and him that 
smiteth,' Micah vi. 9. Everything hath a voice. We know God's nature 
somewhat in the creature, that he is a powerful, a wise, a just God. We 
see it by the works of creation and providence ; but if we should know his 
nature, and not his will towards us — his commanding will, what he will have 
us do ; and his promising will, what he will do for us — except we have a 
ground for this from God, the knowledge of his nature is but a confused 
knowledge ; it serves but to make us inexcusable, as in Kom. i. 19, seq., 
it is proved at large. It is too confused to be the ground of obedience, 
unless the wdll of God be discovered before ; therefore we must know the 
mind of God. 

And that is the excellency of the church of God above all other people 
and companies of men, that we have the mind and will of God ; what he 
requires of us by way of duty to him, and what he will do to us as a liberal 
and rich God. These two things, which are the main, are discovered ; what 
we look for from God, and the duty we owe back again to God, these are 
distinctly opened in the word. You see here God begins with David, 
' Seek ye my face.' 

Indeed, God is a God of order. In this subordination of God and the 
creature, it is fit that God should begin. It is God's part to command, and 
ours to obey. This point might be enlarged, but it is a point that doth 
but make way to that that follows, therefore I will not dwell upon it. 

Again, in this first part, God's command or warrant, * Seek ye my face,' 
you see here, 

Ohs. 2. God is w'dUng to he knoxm. He is willing to open and discover 
himself; God delights not to hide himself. God stands not upon state, as 
some emperors do that think their presence diminisheth respect. God is 
no such God, but he may be searched into. Man, if any weakness be dis- 
covered, we can soon search into the depth of his excellency ; but with God 
it is clean otherwise. The more we know of him, the more we shall admire 
him. None admire him more than the blessed angels, that see most of 
him, and the blessed spirits that have communion with him. Therefore he 
hides not himself, nay, he desires to be known ; and all those that have 
his Spirit desire to make him known. Those that suppress the knowledge 
of God in his will, what he performs for men and what he requires of them, 
they are enemies to God and of God's people. They suppress the opening 
of God, clean contrary to God's meaning : * Seek my face ;' I desire to be 
made known, and lay open myself to you. 


Therefore we may observe by the way, tbat wben we are ia any dark 
condition, that a Christian finds not the beams of God shining on him, let 
him not lay the blame upon God, as if God were a God that delighted to 
hide himself. Oh no ; it is not his delight. He loves not strangeness to 
his poor creature. It is not a point of his policy. He is too great to affect * 
such poor things. No ; the fault is altogether in us. We walk not worthy 
of such a presence ; we want humility and preparation. If there be any 
darkness in the creature, that he finds God doth not so shine on him as in 
former times, undoubtedly the cause is in himself ; for God saith, ' Seek 
my face.' He desires to open himself. But it is a point that I will not be 
large in. 

We see hence likewise, that 

Ohs. 3. God's goodness is a communicative, spreading goodness. 

That is peculiar to God and to those that are led with the Spirit of God, 
that are like him ; they have a communicative, diffusive goodness that loves 
to spread itself. ' Seek ye my face.' I am good in myself, but I desire to 
shine on you, to impart my goodness to you. 

If God had not a communicative, spreading goodness, he would never 
have created the world. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were happy in 
themselves, and enjoyed one another before the world was. But that God 
delights to communicate and spread his goodness, there had never been a 
creation nor a redemption. God useth his creatures, not for defect of 
power, that he can do nothing without them, but for the spreading of his 
goodness ; and thereupon comes all the subordination of one creature to 
another, and all to him. 

Oh that w e had hearts to make way for such a goodness as God would 
cast into us, if we were as we should be. God's goodness is a spreading, 
imparting goodness. It is a common distinction. There is the goodness of 
the fountain and the goodness of the vessel, that is our goodness, because 
we contain somewhat in us that is good. The goodness of the creature, 
that is but the channel or the cistern ; but the goodness of God is another 
manner of goodness, the goodness of the fountain. The fountain begs not 
from the river ; the sun borrows not light from the candle ; God begs not 
goodness from the creature. Ours is a borrowed goodness, but his is a 
communicative goodness : * Seek my face,' that I may impart my goodness. 
The sun dehghts to spread his beams and his influence in inferior things, 
to make all things fruitful. Such a goodness is in God as is in a fountain, 
or in the breast that loves to ease itself of milk. 

I note it, that we may conceive aright of God, that is more willing to 
bestow good than we are to ask it. He is so willing to bestow it, that he 
becomes a suitor to us, ' Seek ye my face.' He seeks to us to seek him. 
It is strange that heaven should seek to earth, and yet so it is. 

Quest. Whence comes this in God, the attribute of goodness, the spread- 
ing goodness in his nature, that he desires to impart and communicate 
himself ? 

Ans. There is no envy in God. He hath none above him, and there- 
fore he labours to make all good. There is a mystery in it ; but if some be 
not good, the fault is in themselves. As it is a prerogative in him to make 
gome more and some less good, so there is a fault in them ; that I am no 
better, it is my own fault. The prerogative belongs to God. We must 
not search into that. But every man may say, I might have been better 
and more enlarged ; I did not seek his face, that he might take occasion to 
* That is, ' choose ' = love. — G. 



enlarge himself towards me. Would we be like our heavenly Father ? Let 
us labour to have large affections, to have a spreading goodness. 

Two things make us very like God, that much concern this point: to do 
things freely of ourselves, and to do them far. To communicate goodness, 
and to communicate it far to many. The greater the fire is, the further it 
burns ; the greater the love is, the further it extends and communicates 
itself. There are none more like God than those that communicate what 
good they have to others, and communicate it as far and remote as they 
can to extend it to many. Our Saviour Christ, you see what a world were 
beholding to him ; heaven and earth were beholding to him. And the nearer 
a man comes to Christ, the more there is a kind of self-denial, to do good 
to others. Saint Paul had a great measure of Christ in him. He was 
content to be bestowed for the good of the church ; the care of all did lie 
upon him, 2 Cor. xi. 28. A public mind is God's mind ; a public mind is 
a mind that loves to do good freely and largely to others. Therefore God 
saith, ' Seek my face,' that I may have better opportunity to empty my 
goodness to you. ' Seek my face ;' that is, seek my presence. The face 
is the glass of the soul, wherein we see the mind of a man. ' Seek my 
face ;' that is, seek my mind, seek my presence, as we shall see afterward. 
I will speak no more of that point, God's warrant or command, but go on. 

* My heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' 

Here is the work and obedience, 'My heart said unto thee,' &c. David's 
heart was set in a good and sanctified frame by God ; it was between God 
and his obedience. The heart is between God and our obedience, as it 
were an ambassador. It understands from God what God would have done, 
and then it lays a command upon the whole man. The heart and con- 
science of man is partly divine, partly human. It hath some divinity in it, 
especially if the man be a holy man. God speaks, and the heart speaks. 
God speaks to the heart, and the heart speaks to us. And ofttimes when 
we hear conscience speaking to us, we neglect it ; and as St Augustine said 
of himself, ' God spake often to me, and I was ignorant of it ' («). When 
there is no command in the word that the heart directly thinks of (as in- 
deed many profane careless men scarce have a Bible in their houses), God 
speaks to them thus ; conscience speaks to them some broken command, 
that they learn against their wills. They heed it not, but David did not so. 
God said, ' Seek ye my face ; ' his heart answers, ' Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' 

The heart looks upward to God, and then to itself. 'My heart said.' It 
said to thee, and then to itself. First, his heai't said to God, Lord, I have 
encouragement from thee. Thou hast commanded that I should seek thy 
face. So his heart looked to God, and then it speaks to itself, ' Thy face, 
Lord, will I seek.' It looks first to God, and then to all things that come 
from itself.' 

' My heart said.' It said of that point, concerning the thing thou saidst, 
' Seek my face.' 

' My heart said to thee.'' David saw God in all his commandments : 
* Thou saidst to me. Seek my face ; my heart said to thee.' I know the 
command is from thee ; I have to deal with thee in the command and 
encouragement, and in the warrant. I look not to the words, but to thee ; 
the authority and strength of them comes from thee. 

' My heart said to thee. Thy face. Lord, will I seek.' 

Between the answer of David and God's command and warrant, the 
heart comes to think seriously upon the command, and then to enjoin the 



duty. This is to be considered, because there is no knitting of these two 
together but by the heart, the serious consideration of the heart. When 
God saith, * Seek my face,' he answers, ' I will seek thy face.' How comes 
this return ? The soul considers the ground of the return before the 
return. A man, when he doth anything, he doth it from the principles of 
a man. A holy man, when he doth a thing, he doth it from the prmciple 
of a holy man ; and what is the principles and foundation of the practice 
of a holy man ? A sanctified understanding to tell him what God hath 
said, and what he hath promised, and wherein God hath discovered himself. 
Well, when the heart knows that once, the heart hath enough from 
heavenward, it hath enough from heaven. God hath said and promised it. 
Then the heart, by a work it hath of itself, speaks to itself, and to the 
whole man, to seek God. The heart will not stoop without reason, the 
heart of an understanding man; but when it sees the command first, 
' Seek my face,' then it answers, ' Thy face. Lord, will I seek.' So that 
this command of God, and this encouragement and warrant from God, 
' Seek ye my face,' it was in David's heart, it was written, and set, and 
grafted in his heart ; and then his heart being awed with the command 
of God, God hath said thus, the heart goes again to God ; thou hast said 
thus, Lord, ' thy face will I seek.' 

See the depth of David's speech, when he saith, ' Lord, thy face will L 
seek.' It came from his heart root, not only from the heart, but ftom the 
heart, grounded upon the command and encouragement of God. ' Seek my 
face.' There is the ground ; the heart digesting this thoroughly, this is 
God's command ; I understand it, and understand it from God ; I see the 
authority from whence it comes. Therefore I will stir up myself, ' Thy 
face, Lord, will I seek.' I shall have occasion to speak somewhat of it 
afterwards, in the next thing, his obedience. Therefore I go on. 
* Thy face, Jehovah, will I seek.' 

Here is his return again to God, that he will seek the face of God. i 
will seek thy face in all my necessities. Then will I seek to thee ; and m 
all thine ordinances I will seek to thee, whereinsoever thy presence is dis- 
covered. Thy presence is in all places, especially in thme ordinances ; 
thy presence is m all times, especially in the time of trouble and need. In 
all times of need I will seek to thee ; in all exigences I will seek unto thee ; 
and in all thine ordinances wherein I may find thee. I know I may meet 
with thee there ; thou givest thy people meetings in thine ordinances. It is 
thy walk ; therefore thy face. Lord, will I seek, where I may be sure to 
meet thee, in thine own way and ordinances. So much for the meaning. 
' Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' . 

Here is, first of all, an application, and obedience from application, ihey 
be words of particular application. ' Thy face will I seek.' God had 
given him a ground, ' Seek ye my face.' His heart makes the application, 
♦ Thy face I will seek,' applying the general encouragement to himself m 
particular. So that you may observe hence that, _ 

Obs. The ground oj all obedience, of all holy intercourse ivith God, is a 
spirit of application. 

Applying the truths of God, though generally spoken, to ourselves in par- 
ticular. It is spoken here in the plural number, ' Seek ye my face ; but 
the general implies the particular, as London is in England. ' Seek ye 
my face,' all ye that are the people of God. But I am one of them : what 
though I be not named ? That tenet in popery is against sense. When 
a man is condemned by the law, is his name in the law ? It is agamst 


such a fact ; he is a malefactor : and so the particular is included in the 
general, ' Seek 3-e my face.' David knew that ; reason taught him that, 
and not religion. 

1. Now the ground of application of divine truths to ourselves in parti- 
ticular is this, that the truth of God (setting aside some circumstantial 
things that arise sometimes to particular persons, that sometimes limit the 
command to one person, or the promise to one person, cut off those dis- 
tinctions), all comfortable truths agree to GoiVs people in all ages, while there 
is a church in the ivorhl. All truths are eternal truths, die not as men do. 
David is dead, and Moses is dead ; but this truth is not dead, ' Seek ye 
my face.' Paul is gone, and Peter is gone. We are the Davids and the 
Moseses, and the Peters, and the Pauls now. Those truths that were good 
to them are good to us. Whatsoever was written before was written for 
our comfort, Eom. xv. 4. There is an eternal truth, that runs through all 
ages of the church, that hath an everlasting comfort. God hath framed 
the Scriptures not to be limited to the times wherein they were written, as 
the papists idly speak, Bellarmine and others (i) ; as if they were occa- 
sional things ; that the Scriptures were wTitten by such and such men, and 
concerning only those times. But the Scriptures were written for all 
times, and it concerns all times to apply all truths to themselves, setting 
aside those circumstances that are applied to particular men, which are 
easy to discern. In Heb. xiii. 5 that that was said to Joshua, Josh. i. 5, the 
apostle applies it to the church in his time, and to all : ' Be not afraid ; I 
will not fail thee nor forsake thee.' It is a general truth. ' And Abraham 
believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness,' that whosoever 
believes as Abraham is a son of Abraham, Eom. iv. 5. These truths are 
universal, and concern every one, as well as any. And so"^many other 
places of Scripture. ' The promise of the blessed seed,' the believing 
of it runs from the beginning of the world, in all ages to the coming of 
Christ. All other promises were but an enlargement of that, that was the 
mother promise. That is the ground of application, that the general truths 
agree to all the churches. The truth of God is the portion of every child 
of God. He may claim every promise, and ought to follow the direction 
of every command. 

The reason is, because all the church of God are heirs alike — heirs of 
the promise, children of Abraham, heirs of salvation. They have intei'est 
in Christ alike, ' in whom all the promises are yea and amen ;' in whom 
all the promises have their making and their performance. And by rea- 
son that there is an indifferent equality, in regard of the main things, of all 
the children of God, they have interest ahke in all the benefits by Christ : 
in all truths, in all substantial duties to God, and all favours from God. 
That is the ground of the equity of application. 

2. But if you will have the ground of the necessitg of it, nature will shew 
that. For the truths are food. If food be not taken, what good doth it 
do without application ? The word of God is a sword : what will a sword 
do if it hangs up in a man's chamber ? or if it be not used when the enemy 
approacheth ? The application of the sword of the Spirit gives the virtue 
to it. It is to no purpose else. Divine truths are physic. If it be not 
applied, what use is there of physic ? 

There is a necessity, if we will obey God, of a spirit of application. 
There is nothing that will do good but by application, neither in nature 
nor in grace. There must be a virtual* application at least. The heavens 
* That is, = in efficacy, energy. — G. 


work upon the earth. There is no application bodily, the heavens are too 
high. But there is a virtual application ; there comes light in, and influence 
to these inferior bodies. Therefore we say the sun is in the house, and in 
the place we are in, though there be only his influence there. But there 
must be appHcation of divine truth to the soul. It must be brought near 
the soul before the soul can move. There is a necessity of application 
from a principle of nature to make it our own. 

Now as in nature there is a power in the soul to work out of the food 
that that is good for every member, which we call a digestive power and 
faculty, that applies and assimilates the meat and nourishment we take to 
every part ; there hejihnv, sucking veins, that suck out of the meat strength 
for this and that purpose ; so there is in the soul of every Christian and 
holy man : there is a spiritual sucking ; there is a drawing digestive spirit, 
that digests and draws out nourishment out of the book of God, that is fit 
for him ; that he can say, This is mine, this is for me. I want comfort and 
strength and direction, here it is. I want light, here it is. I am weak, 
here is supply for it. So there is a digestive power by the Spirit of God 
in every Christian, to suck and to draw out of the word that that is fit for 
all purposes and turns ; and he can apply the word upon every occasion : 
as, if it be a command, he obeys it ; if it be a threatening, he trembles at 
it ; if it be comfort, he rests in it ; if it be a direction, he follows it like- 
wise. He applies it answerable to the nature of the word, whatsoever it 
is. His heart is moulded answerable to the word, by reason of the Spirit 
of application. 

3. As there is a ground of the application of the word, and a necessity 
of it, so there is a principle of application ; that is, the Spirit of God in the 
hearts of the children of God, teaching their spirits to draw wholesome 
truths fitting to themselves ; and none but the children of God can do it, 
that have the Spirit of God. They cannot apply the word of God aright. 
False application of the word of God is the cause of all mischief sometimes, 
when those that apply the law should apply the gospel ; and on the con- 
trary, when those that should apply the law, sinful, secure persons, apply 
the gospel. Many times poor distressed persons, that comfort belongs to — 
' Oh comfort my people,' Isa. xl. 1 — they apply the law that belongs not to 
them. In that case false application is the ground of mischief. Therefore 
the Spirit of God is the principle of application of divine truths, according 
to the exigence and estate of God's people. 

Use. Therefore ive should he stirred up to berj the spirit of application, to 
mo.intain our communion and intercourse with God, that we may apply every 
thing duly and truly to ourselves and our own souls. All is to no purpose 
else, if we do not apply it, if it be not brought home to our souls and 
digested throughly in our hearts. We must say. This is from God, and 
this belongs to me ; when we hear truths unfolded, to say of ourselves. This 
concerns me, and say not. This is a good portion and a good truth for such 
a one and such a one, but. Every one take out his own portion, this is for 
me. God saith, * Seek my face ; thy face. Lord, willj seek,' with a spirit of 

If we do not — as indeed it is the fault of the times to hear the word of 
God loosely — we care not so much to hear the word of God, as to hear the 
gifts of men. We desire to hear fine things, to increase notions. We 
delight in them, and to hear some empty creature, to fasten upon a story 
or some phrases by the by. Alas ! you come here to hear duties and com- 
forts, if you be good, and sentences against you, if you be naught. We 


speak God's threatenings to you that will wound you to hell, except you 
pull them out by repentance. It is another manner of matter to hear than 
it is took for. ' Take heed how you hear,' saith Christ, Luke viii. 18. 
So we had need, for the word that we hear now shall judge us at the latter 
day. Thereupon we should labour for a spirit of application, to make a right 
use of it as we should. 

Therefore those humble souls that are cast down in the sight and sense 
of their sins, they must apply the sweet and blessed comforts of the gospel, 
such as are contrite in spirit : ' Blessed are the poor in spirit ; blessed are 
they that hunger and thirst after righteousness. Come unto me, all ye 
that are weary and heavy laden,' &c.. Mat. xi. 28. Those on the other 
side, that go on in a course of sin, and will not be reclaimed, let them con- 
sider what Moses saith, Deut. xxix. 20, ' If a man go on and bless himself, 
my wrath shall smoke against such a man, and burn to hell.' I will not 
remove my wrath from him, till by little and little I take my good Spirit 
from him, and let him go with some temporal comforts, and then bring 
him to hell. * I will curse him in his blessings.' He shall have blessings, 
but he shall be cursed in all that he doth ; and all things shall be in wrath 
and anger that shall burn to hell. Such like places, let such men apply to 
themselves. There is no comfort at all to men that live in sin wittingly and 
willingly. ' If I regard iniquity in my heart, God will not hear m}' prayer,' 
Ps. Ixvi. 18. If a man despise the ordinance of God, hearing and good 
means, ' his prayer shall be abominable :' ' He that will not hear the law, 
his prayer is abominable,' Prov, xxviii. 9. The applying of these things 
would make men bethink themselves, and turn to God, when he considers 
what part of the word belongs to him, and makes a right application. 

If we make not a right application of God's truths, this mischief will 
come of it. 

(1.) We disJtonotir God and his hoiinty. Hath God been so bountiful, 
as to give us so many instructions and such promises ? and shall not we 
make them our own ? What is the end of the ministry but to spread before 
us the unsearchable riches of Christ ? They are yours, if you will take 
them. When you have not a spirit of application, and are not in case to 
take them, they are lost : God's bount}^ is discredited. 

(2.) The devil rejoiceth ivhen he seeth what excellent things are laid open in 
the church of God, in the viinistry, xvhat sxveet promises and comforts, but 
here is nobody to take them and lay hold on them ; like a table that is richly 
furnished, and there is nobody comes and takes it. It makes the devil 
sport, it rejoiceth the enemy of mankind when we lose so great advantage, 
that we will not apply those blessed truths and make them our own. There 
is no greater dehght to Satan, than for us to refuse those dainties that God 
hath provided for us. What can rejoice an enemy more, than to see 
courtesies refused ? He sees that all the Scripture is for comfort to poor 
distressed souls ; and when they refuse their comforts and set light by them, 
as they tell Job, ' Settest thou light by the consolations of the Almighty ? ' 
Job. XV. 11, then Satan, the enemy of mankind, and especially the 
enemy of our comfort, since he hath lost all comfort and all hope of it him- 
self, he rejoiceth to see us in this condition comfortless. Therefore let us 
lay claim to the promises by a spirit of application. 

(3.) Again, We are injiirions to ourselves, ive rob our own soids. The want 
of this makes Christians be discouraged and droop as they do. When they 
are cast down, all comfortable truths belong to them, j-et they put them 
off: This is not for me and those in my case. When God saith he will 


come and dwell with a humble heart, This is not for me. This spirit of 
peevishness and forwardness* is that that keeps them long from that comfort 
that they might enjoy. What ! to be in the midst of comforts and to starve ; 
for a man to be at a feast and to starve, because he hath not a spirit to 
digest and to take that that is fit for him ! 

We detest, and deservedly, those misers that, in the midst of all their 
abundance, will not spend sixpence upon themselves. What a spirit of 
baseness is this, in the midst of spiritual contentments and refreshings, 
when God ofi'ers to feed our souls with the fat things of his house, to say, 
Oh no ! this belongs not to me ; and cherish a peevish froward spirit that 
puts all away. Why do we not labour to be in such a condition that we 
may be cherished ? and that we may have satisfaction ? to be truly hungry 
and poor in spirit, that we may be filled and satisfied, and not to go on 
thus stubbornly ? There is a proud kind of modesty. Oh, this belongs 
not to me ; I am unworthy. If we will hearken to our own misgiving hearts 
in the time of temptation, we shall never answer God and say, ' Lord, thy 
face will I seek.' Therefore let us labour for a spirit of supplication, f I 
will not enforce that point further. 

Now from this spirit of application, from this general ' Seek ye my face,' 
comes obedience ; for it is a speech of obedience. 

' Thy face. Lord, will I seek.' 

I will seek hj thy strength and grace ; for when God utters a general com- 
mand to his children, there goes with that command a secret virtue, whereby 
they are enabled to seek him. There came a hidden virtue with this ' Seek 
my face,' when David's spirit was raised by God to think of it. Together 
with the thought of this ' Seek my fiice,' there was a virtue enabling his 
soul to return back to God, to say, ' Lord, thy face will I seek.' So though 
David said, ' I will seek thy face,' yet there was a spiritual virtue that 
enabled him. God must find us before we can seek him. He must not 
only give the command to seek his face, but together with the command, 
there goes a work of the Spirit to the children of God, that enableth them 
to seek him. 

In the covenant of grace, God doth his part and ours too. Our part is to 
seek God, to please him and walk before him. They are all one ; I need not 
be curious in particulars. Now this was not a speech of self-confidence, 
but a speech of the Spirit of God, that went with the command to him. 

This is a great encouragement, by the way, to hear good things,_ and to 
come to the congregation. We hear many great things, high duties,^ but 
we are not able to perform them. It is true, but the gospel is the ministry 
of the Spirit ; and together with the duty there goes the Spirit to enable us 
to the duty. ' Stand up and walk,' saith Peter to the poor lame man, and 
there went an enabling virtue to raise him. Acts iii. 6. * Arise,' saith Christ 
to Lazarus, and there went a divine virtue to make him rise, John xi. 43 ; 
and here, ' Seek my face,' there went a divine virtue to make him seek, 
which those that contemn the ordinances of God want, because they will 
not attend upon the ordinances. So much for that. 

Now I come to his obedience. 

' Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' 

This obedience ariseth from application, and his obedience hath these 
qualifications : 

1. It ivas present. As soon as he heard God's will, as soon as his heart 
did think of the word, he puts not off. The Spirit of God and the works 
* Qu. ' frowardncss '?— Ed. t Qu. ' application ' ?— Ed. 


of it, are not slow in the children of God ; but when they hear their duty, 
there is a spirit presently, ' Thy face will I seek,' before the heart grow 
cold again. 

2. Again, This return and answer, as it was present, so likewise it ivas a 
pliable obedience : ' Thy face will I seek.' It is a speech of a ready, cheer- 
ful, pliable heart. Where the Spirit of God works, it makes not only pre- 
sent and quick, but cheerful and pliable. For the Spirit of God is like fire, 
that softens the hardness of the heart, that naturally is like iron, and makes 
it pHable. God's people are a voluntary people, as it is Ps. ex. 3 ; a people 
of devotion, of readiness of will, and cheerfulness ; a free-hearted people, 
a people set at large. They are led with a royal spirit, a spirit above their 
own ; and that makes that easy and pleasant to them, that otherwise is 
difficult and impossible to nature. 

When Isaiah's lips were touched with a coal from the altar — that is, he 
had somewhat from the Spirit of God to encourage nature — then ' Here I 
am. Lord ; send me,' Isa. vi. 8. He detracted* the business before, and 
put it oft' as much as he could. The Spirit of God makes pliable, as we 
see in the Acts. They cared not for suffering whips or anything, because 
they were made pliable to God's service ; they accounted it an honour to 
sufler anything for God's sake, Acts v. 41. The obedience that is good is 
pliable and cheerful. 

God would have things in the church done by such people. The very 
building of the tabernacle was done by such voluntary people, that brought 
in as God moved their hearts. Oh, beloved, a Christian knows what it is 
to have a royal spirit, a free spirit. David knew it. When he had lost it 
by his sin, he prayed that he might have a free spirit, a cheerful spirit, in 
the service of God, and in his particular calling, for sin darkens and straitens 
the soul. ' Thy face will I seek.' His heart was weary and pliable now, 
as God would have it. 

So should our hearts be ; and they will be so, if we have the Spirit of 
God, ready and cheerful. God hath none to fight his battles against Satan 
and the kingdom of darkness, but voluntaries. All God's people are volun- 
taries. They are not pressed soldiers ; I mean, not against their wills, in 
that sense. Indeed, they have press-money in baptism, to fight against 
the world, the flesh, and the devil ; but they are not pressed, they are 
voluntaries. They know they serve a good general, that will pay them 
abundantly ; therefore they labour to be voluntary. It is a good sajdng, 
There is no virtue in men that do things against their wills ; for that is 
virtue and grace that comes from a man from his own principles, from 
cheerfulness : ' God loveth a cheerful giver,' I might enlarge this, but I 
do but take it as it may strengthen the point. Our obedience to God, it 
must be pliable, and cheerful, and voluntary. 

3. Again, Obedience, if it be true, it isjjcrfect and sincere, looking to God : 
' Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' We must eye God in it, and God's com- 
mandment, and not have a double eye. We must not look to our own 
selves. It must be perfect obedience ; that is, opposite to that which is 
hypocritical. That is the best perfection. For the perfection of degrees 
is not to be attained here, but this perfection of soundness is to be laboured 
for ; as we see here it was a sound obedience : ' Thy face. Lord, will I 
seek.' I will not seek thy favours and blessings so much as thy face. It 
was perfect obedience, as perfection is opposed to unsoundness. 

4. It was likewise a jrrofessed obedience before all the world, in spite of 

* That is, ' drew back from,' = delayed. — G. 


Satan : * Thy face will I seek.' Let the devil and the world do what they 
can ; let others do as they will ; but as Joshua saith, ' If you will worship 
other gods,' if you will fall away, do ; ' but I and my house will serve the 
Lord.' What if his house will not serve the Lord ? If my house will not 
serve the Lord, I will. So we should all be of Joshua's mind, 'I and my 
house will serve the Lord,' Josh. xxiv. 15, let the world go which way it 
will. In blessed St Paul's time. Oh, saith he, ' There are many of whom 
I have told you often, and now tell you weeping, who are enemies to the 
cross of Christ, whose end is damnation, who mind earthly things,' Philip, 
iii. 18. What doth Paul in the mean time ? Oh, but ' our conversation is 
in heaven.' We swim a contrary way. We care not to let the world know 
it. Our conversation is another way. So our obedience must not only be 
present, and pliable, and perfect, but a professed obedience : that^ is, to 
break through all the oppositions of the devil and the world ; with an 
invincible resolution to break through all difficulties, and scandals, and 
examples of great persons, and of this and that, if we will go to God, and 
say truly, ' Lord, thy face will I seek.' Let other men seek what they 
will : let them seek the face and favour of others ; ' Thy face will I seek.' 
Thou shalt be instead of all to me, as indeed he is. 

5. Again, As it is a professed, so it is a continued, a perpetual obedience. 
He is resolved for the time to come. ' Thy face will I seek :' not only now, 
and then turn my back upon thee afterwards ; but I will seek thy face, till 
I see thee in heaven. I see thy face in thine ordinances, in the word, in 
thy people ; where two or three be gathered, thou art among them, Mat. 
xviii. 20. I will see thy fiice as I may, till I see it in heaven. So here is 
a perpetual resolution : * Thy face I will seek.' 

6. Lastly, There is one thing more in this obedience and answer to God's 
command, that his answer to God is an answerable answer ; that is, the 
answer and obedience is suitable to the command. God's command was, 
' Seek my face.' His answer is, ' Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' So the 
point is, that 

Obs. Our obedience to God must be ]}ro2iortionabIe to that that is commanded. 

It must not be this or that devised by men. When the Lord's eye is on 
you in this place, and gives you a charge to do thus, the obedience must 
be suitable. When he saith, ' Seek my face,' we must obey : ' Thy face, 
Lord, will we seek.' Therefore it may, in some poor sense, be compared 
to an echo. We return obedience in the same kind. The Spirit of God 
teacheth the children of God to do so, to answer God in all the things he 
doth. I know not a better evidence of a child of God, than this answering 
spirit. How shall I know that God loves me ? I love him again ; there- 
fore I know he hath loved me first. It is an undoubted argument. How 
shall I know that God hath chosen me ? I choose him : 'Whom have I 
in heaven but thee ? and what is there in earth in comparison of thee ? ' 
Ps. Ixxiii. 25. It is an undoubted argument : Shall I be able to single out 
God, to be instead of all to me ? and hath not he chosen me first ? Can 
there be anything in the current, that is not in the spring before ? It is 
impossible. I know God ; I look on him as my father : certainly he hath 
shined on me first. I have said to him, * Thou art my God ; ' certainly 
he hath said before, ' Thou art my servant.' If I say to him, ' Thou art 
my God,' certainly he hath said before, ' I am thy salvation.' He hath 
begun. For this is the order : God begins. He saith, ' Seek my face ; ' 
then if we have grace to return answerable obedience to God, ' Thy face, 
Lord, will I seek.' When thou biddest me. Lord, I will love thee, I will 


choose thee, and delight in thee ; thou shalt be my God. If we have this 
returning spirit back again, we cannot have a better argument that God 
loves us, than by answering God's course. 

This is that that St Peter hath in 1 Peter iii. 21, That that doth all in 
baptism, it is not ' the washing of the filth of the body,' but the J'^rsgwrTj/ia, 
' the answer,' or the demand ' of a good conscience ; ' but ' answer' is better. 
The answer of a good conscience cleanseth in baptism. What is that '? 

In baptism, dost thou believe, saith the minister, in God the Father 
Almighty ? I do believe. That was the answer. Dost thou believe in 
God the Son ? I do believe. Dost thou believe the forgiveness of sins, 
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting? I do believe. Dost 
thou renounce the devil and his works ? I renounce them. That is the 
answer of a good conscience. Where that is from the heart, there God 
hath spoken to that heart before, and there is obedience to purpose. ' Thy 
face will I seek.' It is that that brings comfort, not the washing of the 
water. It is not the eating of the bread, and drinking the wine, and hear- 
ing the word of God : when there is not the answer of a good conscience, 
when we say we believe, and we will do this, to do it indeed. Lord, ' I will 
believe ; ' I will go out of the church with a purpose to practise what I 
hear. Here is the answer of a good conscience, when we mingle what we 
hear with faith, and labour to practise it, or else it will do no good. 

Our obedience must be suitable and answerable, as I said before : if it 
be a direction, to follow it ; if it be a command, to obey it ; if it be a 
threatening, to fear it ; if it be a comfort, a promise, to rest upon it. Let 
there be a suitableness of obedience to the word thereafter as the word is. 
Let us have a spiritual desire to these things, to imitate the holy man of 
God, as we desire to share in his comforts. 

I will follow this point of the answerableness of obedience a little further, 
and then come to the particular of seeking. 

Let our obedience be every way answerable first. Let the heart think 
what God saith, what God commands and promiseth ; let the heart take 
the word of God the second time and ruminate on it, and go over it again. 
Let us look into the word, and see what is commanded, and what is pro- 
mised, and then let the heart go over it again. And then upon that allege 
it to God. 

(1.) Put case a man be in trouble, Lord, thou hast commanded, ' CaU upon 
me in the day of trouble, and I will hear thee,' Ps. 1. 15. Let the heart 
think of it and go over that encouragement. It is rather an encouragement 
than a command. Though indeed God lay a command on us to be good 
to our own souls, it is a duty to love ourselves. Therefore he commands 
us to go to him, to seek his face, as though we wronged him by disobedi- 
ence, when we injure ourselves by our peevishness, as indeed we do. God 
loves us better than we love ourselves. Let us think of the command and 
invitation ; thou hast commanded me. Lord, and encouraged me to come ; 
I am now in trouble, experience teacheth me. I come to thee. Thou 
hast said, ' He that sitteth in darkness, and seeth no light, let him trust in 
the name of the Lord,' Isa. 1. 10. I am in darkness, and see no light now, 
I trust in thy name. Let the heart think of the promise, and then allege 
it to God, and come with an obedient answer, and cast itself upon him, and 
trust in him. 

(2.) We are in want, jJerJiaps, and see no issue, no supply. Think of 
God's gracious promise, 'I will not fail thee, nor foi'sake thee,' Heb. xiii. 5. 
I come to thee and claim this promise ; I am in covenant with thee, &c. 


(3.) So ice should take the promise. Thou hast said, 'At what lime 
soever a sinner conies to thee with a repentant heart, thou wilt forgive his 
iniquities ; and though his sins were as scarlet, thou wilt make them as 
snow, and white as wool,' Isa. i. 18. My soul thinks of that command, 
and I come to thee. 

Thou hast bid all that are weary and hea%'y laden in soul, that are 
troubled in conscience with the sense of their sins, to come unto thee. 
My heart thinks of thy command and invitation, I come to thee ; I am 
weary and heavy laden. First, let us think of the encouragement, that is 
our warrant, and then yield present obedience. And then what will be the 
issue ? What will spring from it when the heart and obedience join with 
the command, that there is a meeting, that they concentrate the heart and 
obedience ? God bids the heart obey. The heart saith, I do obey. 
When these meet, the issue must be exceeding comfortable. It cannot be 
otherwise, when the obedient heart meets God in his command, in his 

In all perplexity of business, ' commit thy way to the Lord, and he 
shall establish thy thoughts,' Prov. iii. 6, and other places. Lord, I com- 
mit my waj's to thee ; establish my thoughts and designs agreeable to thy 
will, because thou hast bid me commit my ways to thee. 

In the hour of death, let us commend ourselves to God, ' as to a gracious 
and merciful Creator,' 1 Pet. iv. 19. Lord, I commend to thee my soul, 
who art the Creator of my soul and the Eedeemer of it. Here is an obe- 
dience answerable. What can be the issue of it but comfort ? 

Therefore let us learn by the example of this blessed man, that when he 
had but a hint from God, ' Seek ye my face,' answers, ' Thy face, Lord, 
will I seek.' 

Faith will see light at a little crevice. When it sees an encouragement 
once, a command, it will soon answer : and when it sees a promise, half a 
promise, it will welcome it. It is an obedient thing, ' the obedience of 
faith,' Rom. xvi. 26. It believes, and upon believing, it goes to God. As 
the servants of the king of Assyria, they catch the word presently, * Thy 
servant Benhadad,' 1 Kings xx. 32 ; so faith, it catcheth the word. 

To put God in mind, it is an excellent thing with the prophet, whosoever 
penned the 119th Psalm, whether David, or some other, * Eemember thy 
promise, wherein thou hast caused thy servant to trust,' ver. 49. As it is 
Neh. i. 8, * Remember, Lord.' He puts God in mind of his promise ; 
and so it is good often to jDut God in mind. Lord, thou hast made such 
and such promises. I know thou canst not deny thyself. If thou shouldst 
deny thy word, thou must deny thyself. Thy word is thyself. ' Remember 
thy promise, wherein thou hast caused thy servant to trust.' If I be 
deceived, thou hast deceived me, for thou hast given me this promise and 
this command. This is an excellent way to deal with God, as it were, to 
wrestle with him. ' By thy promise thou hast quickened me,' Ps. cxix. 50. 
When I was dull and dead-hearted, then I thought on such and such a 
promise. I allege that promise, and apply it by a spirit of faith, and that 
quickened me. 

And indeed, as I said, God hath made us fit to answer him, and we 
should study in all things to return unto him by his Spirit. Whatsoever 
God doth, the heart should return back again — love for love, knowledge for 
knowledge, seeking for seeking, choosing for choosing. He begins with us, 
he chooseth us, he loves us, he seeks us ; and we, if ever w^e intend to be 
friends with God, and to entertain a holy communion, as all that shall be 



saved must do, we should labour to have our hearts to return to God, what 
we find from God first, ' Thy face. Lord, will I seek.' To come more 
particularly to this seeking, which is the particular of the obedience and of 
the application. 

* Thy face. Lord, wall I seek.' 

Seeking implies that our happiness is out of ourselves. It implies that 
there is somewhat in ourselves, in the application to which there must be 
some happiness. Therefore we go out of ourselves to seek. It is a motion, 
and it is out of an apprehension of some want ; a man seeks out of some 
want, or out of some loss, or out of some duty. Either he hath loss, and 
therefore he seeks ; or else he wants, and therefore he seeks ; or else he 
owes respect and duty, and therefore he seeks. It is somewhat without a 
man that moves his seeking. 

God need not seek the creature ; he hath all fulness in himself. Indeed, 
his love makes him seek for our love, to be reconciled to him. But the 
creature, because his happiness is out of himself in communion with God, 
the fountain of all good, he must seek. 

Christians must be seekers. 

This is the generation of seekers, Ps. sxiv. 6. All mankind, if ever they 
will come to heaven, they must be a generation of seekers. Heaven is a 
generation of finders, of possessors, of enjoyers, seekers of God. But here 
we are a generation of seekers. We want somewhat that we must seek. 
When we are at best, we want the accomplishment of our happiness. It 
is a state of seeking here, because it is a state of want ; we want something 

But to come more particularly to this seeking the face of God, or the 
presence of God. 

The presence of God, and the face of God, where is it to be sought for ? 

(1.) Know that first for a ground : The presence of God it is everywhere. 
But that is not the thing here purposed. 

(2.) There is a face and presence of God in everything, in every creature. 
Therefore every creature hath the name of God ; sometimes a rock : because 
God is strong, so a rock is strong. So likewise a shield ; as a shield 
defends, so God defends us. There is some resemblance of God in the 
creature. Therefore God hath the name of the creature. But that is not 
here meant. 

(3.) The presence of God meant here is, that presence that he shews in 
the time of need, and in his ordinances. He shews a presence in need and 
necessity, that is a gracious presence to his children, a gracious face. As 
in want of direction, he shews his presence of light to direct them ; in 
weakness he shews his strength ; in trouble and perplexity he will shew 
his gracious and comfortable presence to comfort them. In perplexity he 
shews his presence to set the heart at large, answerable to the necessity. 
So in need God is present with his children, to direct them, to comfort 
them, to strengthen them, if they need that. 

(4.) And in the issue of all business there is a presence of God to give a 
blessing; for there is a presence must be even to the end of things. When 
we have all we would have, yet God must give a blessing. So you sea 
there is a presence of God answerable to the necessity of man, as it hath 
reference to this place. 

' Thy face will I seek,' to direct me by thy heavenly light when I know 
not what to do, as Jehoshaphat said, ' W« know not what to do, but our 
eyes are towards thee,' 2 Chron. xx. 12. And so in weakness, when we 


have no strengtli of our own, then go to God, to seek the face of God, that 
he would be present with us. So when we are comfortless, go to God that 
comforts the abject, 'the God of all comfort;' go to him, for his pre- 
sence, for help. And when we are troubled in our hearts about success, 
what will become of such and such a business ; go to God, that gives 
success and issue to all. Thus we see a presence of God answerable to 
every necessity of man. 

(5.) There is a gracious presence of God Hkewise in his ordinances. 
That is the chief presence, next to heaven, the presence in God's ordi- 
nances ; that is, in the unfolding of the word, in the administration of the 
sacraments, in the communion of saints. Indeed, in the ordinances God 
is graciously present. ' AVhere two or three are gathered together, I will 
be in the midst of them,' Mat. xviii. 20. Therefore in Eev. i. 12, seq., it 
is said, * that Christ walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks ; ' 
that is, in the midst of the church. There is a gracious presence of Christ 
in the midst of the candlesticks. He takes his walk there. Christ hath a 
special presence in his church in the ordinances ; and that David aims at 
here too, not only, I will seek thy face in trouble and necessity, when I 
need anything from thee, but ' Thy face will I seek in all thine ordinances,' 
to enable me for the other. For it is in vain for a man to think to seek 
God in his necessity and exigence, if he seek not God in his ordinances, and 
do not joy in them. So you see where the face and presence of God is to 
be sought ; in necessities of all kinds, and in the ordinances. 

Now, in our seeking the presence or face of God, there is four or five 
things that I will touch the heads of. 

[1.] First of all, seeking implies observance. Seek my face; that is, 
observe me, respect me as a God. ' Thy face I will seek,' I will be a fol- 
lower of thee ; as in English an ' observer ' is a follower, a creature. It is a 
proud word ; as if man could make a man of nothing. And indeed they 
are creatures in that kind, they are raised of nothing. To seek a man is 
to observe him. There is a notable place for it, Prov. xxix. 26, * Many 
seek the ruler's favour.' In the Greek translation, the Septuagint, the 
word is, to observe and respect a man, which is translated seeking (c). 
Many observe the ruler; but every man's judgment cometh from the Lord. 
You see those that think to rise by the favour of such or such a man, they 
will be his followers, as I said, and observe him ; they study men ; as those 
that rise by favour that way, they study not books so much as men, what 
may delight such a man, what he respects. Surely they will serve him at 
every turn. A base atheist makes a man his god. That he may rise, he 
will deny God and the motions of conscience, and honesty, and all to 
observe the face of a great man whom he hopes to rise by. But a true 
Christian observes the great God. The greatest preferment comes from 
him. So it signifies to ' observe.' 

In Ps. Ixii. 11, there you shall see the ground of observation is, that 
power belongs to God. * I have heard once, nay, twice.' He heard it twice 
by the meditation of it, by going over it in his heart again. I have heard 
once, nay, twice ; that is, I thought again and again on it ; that is, hearing 
of it oft. We may hear a truth a hundred times, that is, by meditating of 
it. ' I have heard once, nay, twice, that power belongs to God ;' that is, 
riches and power to advance a man. Atheistical men think all belongs to 
the creature, but power belongs to God. That is one thing that is meant 
by seeking, diligent observing of God, and respect to him and his will and 
commandments in all things. 


If SO be that a person of great place should say, Observe me, and I will 
prefer you, I hope men would be ready enough, they need no more words. 
Here is the atheism of our hearts. God saith, I will do all good for you. 
The greatest preferment is to be the child of God here, and the heir of 
heaven after. What preferment is there to that of Christianity ! And he 
saith. Seek my face, observe me, respect me, let the eye of your souls be 
to me, as it is in the Psalm, ' As the eyes of a maid are toward the hand 
of her mistress,' Ps. cxxiii. 2. The obedience of a servant is toward the 
eye of the commander, so the obedience of a Christian is toward the eye 
of God, to see what God commands. We should be more serviceable to 
God. It is an argument of the atheism of our hearts, to take more 
encouragement from a mortal man that can raise us and do us a pleasure, 
than from God himself. But to let that go, that is the first branch, ' Seek 
my face,' that is, observe me. 

[2.] Then seek my face ; that is, depend upon me. To seek God's face, 
is'to depend upon him for all. It argues dependence. For him that we 
observe, we observe him for something. We depend upon him to be our 
raiser and maker. So seek my face, seek my countenance and favour ; 
depend upon me, and it shall be sufficient for you. 

[3.] Then, in the third place, ' Seek my face ;' that is, seek my favour 
and grace. Favour appears and shines in the face. ' Seek my face,' 
observe me, depend on me ; for what ? For my favour. What is that ? 
It is all. If we have the grace of God, we have all. For the grace of God 
is in every thing that is good to us. If we have the graces to salvation, 
they come of free grace : every good gift is the grace of God. Children 
are the grace of God. So, if we have the grace of God, we have all for our 
good. We have all in the spring of good, which is the grace and favour of 
God. As men, if they be graced from a great person, they study not this 
and that particular thing. They think, I have his favour, and that favour 
of his is ready for all exigences. And therefore, in way of compliment, 
they say, I seek not this or that, but your favour. 

The favour of God, it is a storehouse, and spring, and fountain, better than 
life itself; as the psalmist saith, ' The loving-kindness of the Lord is better 
than life,' Ps. Ixiii. 3. When life fails, the favour of God never fails. Life 
will fail, and all earthly comforts ; but the favour of God is better than life 
itself; it is everlasting and eternal. In Psalm iv. 7, you see how worldly, 
atheistical men rejoice when their corn and wine and oil increase. And 
* who will shew us any good ? ' who ? It is no matter who ; any good, any 
hope of preferment, it is no matter what way ; and it is no matter what, 
any good ; and let them but shew it and we will work it out, we have wit 
enough. Oh, saith he, but your wit I stand not upon, nor jowc courses ; 
but, ' Lord, let thy face shine upon me, lift up the light of thy counte- 
nance,' and that shall be instead of all honours and preferments. So in 
seeking we must observe God, and depend upon him ; and for what ? For 
his favour especially ; for the face and favour of God. Let me have a 
good look from thee, Lord ; let me have thy favour and love. For 
other things I leave them to thy wisdom, thou art wise enough ; only let 
thy face shine on me. 

Oh this favour and face of God, it is a sweet thing, this presence of God ! 
What is heaven but the presence of God there '? Let God be present in 
a dungeon, it will be a paradise ; let God be absent, paradise it is as a 
hell or dungeon, as it was to Adam ; after he had sinned, he ran to hide 
himself. What is hell but the want of God's presence ? God's face and 


favour is not there. What makes hell in the heart of a roan ? God is 
not there, but leaves the heart to its own darkness and confusion. Oh 
therefore, the face and favour of God, seek that especially ! 

[4.] Again, To seek the face of God is to jyray to him, to jmt this in exe- 
cution in prayer. Everywhere in Scripture it is all one to pray and to seek 
God's face. It is called the spirit of prayer ; which because I have spoken 
of at large out of another scripture, I will now say nothing of it.* 

[5.] Likewise, in the next place, to seek the face of God is to attend upon 
the jjresence of God, n-heresoever he reveals himself : to attend upon the word 
and ordinances is to ' seek the face of God.' It is said that Cain went 
from the face of God when he went from the worship of God in his father's 
house ; he went out from God, Gen. iv. 16. 'Where God is worshipped, 
there God is present ; and when we leave the place where God is worshipped, 
we leave God's presence. God is more especially present there, therefore 
seeking the face of God is to attend upon God's ordinance : ' I will seek 
thy face ;' that is, wheresoever there is any presence of thee I will seek thee. 

Christ when he was lost, he was found in the temple. That hath a 
literal sense, but it is true in a spiritual sense. If we lose Christ, and 
have not comfort from Christ, we shall find him in the temple. The 
sweetest presence of his Spirit is there. His body is in heaven, and his 
Spirit is his vicar in the world. If we want comfort and direction from 
Christ, we shall meet him in the temple. There he gives us sweet meet- 
ings by his Spirit ; there we have the comfort, and direction, and spiritual 
strength that we wanted before we came. There is the best meeting. As 
in the Canticles, Christ goes into the * garden of spices.' He goes among 
his children, that are as a watered garden, and as so many plants of right- 
eousness and beds of spices. He delights to be there. Christ is in the 
communion of saints in the ordinances, therefore ' thy face will I seek,' 
especially in the tabernacle, and temple after ; especially in the church 
and communion of saints, there thy face will I seek. Thus we see the 
unfolding of this promise of a gracious, obedient, respective heart : ' Thy 
face will I seek.' I will add no more, but come to the use of it. 

Use. And in the first place, by way of direction, that we may seek the 
face of God — that is, observe him, and depend upon him, and enjoy his 
favour, and meet with him in his ordinances — we must first get 

The knowledf/e of God [and of] ourselves. 

1. Get the knowledge of God, for they that know him will seek to him. 
They that know his riches, his power, his sufiiciency, in a word, his all- 
sufficiency for all things, they will seek to him. And they that know them- 
selves, that know their wants, their inability to supply those wants, and 
know the greatness of those wants, and that they must be supplied, they 
will out of themselves. They that have nothing at home will seek 
abroad. The knowledge of these two therefore, of the great God, the all- 
sufficient God ; and of ourselves, the insufficiency of ourselves every way, 
either for direction, or for protection, or for comfort in distress, or for 
strength in duty to go through business, or for issue when we are about 
anything ; ' they that know that the way of man is not in man,' as Jere- 
miah saith, X. 23, they would certainly out of themselves. Therefore let us 
grow in the knowledge of God and of ourselves, of our own wants and 

And especially know God now in Christ. For there is enmity between 
the nature of God and the nature of man, of sinful man ; but that Christ 
* Cf. the General Index under ' Prayer.' — G. 


hath taken our nature now and made it lovely to God, and God lovely to 
us. Christ Immanuel, God and man, ' God with us,' hath made God 
and us friends. Therefore now we must go to God in that Immanuel, in 
Christ, that ladder that joins heaven and earth together. See God's face 
shining in Christ, his gracious face, and this will encourage us to go to 
God together with our wants. Go not to absolute God, a God without a 
mediator ; for then God is ' a consuming fire,' Heb. xii. 29. 

2. In the next jjlace, when we go to God, and seek to God, be sure to 
seek his favour and grace in the first 2)lace. If we want any particular thing, 
protection or direction or comfort in distress, go not for that in the first 
place, but let us see in what terms God and we are ; let us be sure that 
reconciliation and peace be made. For if we seek to God in our particular 
wants, and have not made our peace before, but have sought to other gods, 
to men, and to our shifts,* God may say, You seek to me ! Go to the gods 
you have served, to the great men you have served, to the riches you have 
trusted unto, go to your shifts.* Therefore, first, make peace and reconci- 
liation with God before j'ou seek other things. If a man have offended a 
great person, he doth not go and seek particular favours, till first he have 
made peace and taken up the quarrel. Let us take up the quarrel between 
God and us, by repentance and a promise of new obedience ; get reconcilia- 
tion that way, and then seek for particular favours after. 

For what if God give you particular favours, if they be not from his grace 
and favour, what will they do us good ? What will all that a reprobate 
wretch hath do him good ? What will his favours, his riches, and honours 
and preferments do him good when he dies, when he shall conflict with the 
ano-er of God ? when he shall see hell before him and see heaven shut ? He 
seeth he hath all, from a general providence and as a reward for his care 
in this world. God answereth him with a civil enlargement for his civil 
obedience, but he hath his reward. Heaven he hath not, he cared not for 
it. What will all do without the love of God in Christ ? Therefore I 
beseech you, let us first seek the favour and mercy of God in Christ. 

And then for particular things go to him as the exigence is ; for in God 
there is a supply for all turns, and that is the ground of seeking ; for our 
seeking it must be a wise seeking. Now it were not wise, unless there 
were a supply in God for every want, whatsoever it is. If the creature 
could do anything without God, we should upon good ground make that 
God. If anything could raise us without God, I mean, to comfort, we 
might seek to them, and make them God upon good reason ; but what can 
they do ? In anger, God may let a man enjoy favours, as the fruits of his 
displeasure, but what can they do without him ? They can do nothing. 
Therefore it must be the supreme cause, the highest cause, the great wheel 
that turns every little inferior wheel in the world. They turn with the 
great wheel of divine providence and goodness ; therefore go to him as the 
first cause. .. 

3. Again', In seeking the favour of God, we must search our consciences, 
to come u-ith jmre and clean hearts to God to seek him. If we regard ' iniquity 
in our hearts, God will not hear our prayers,' Ps. Ixvi. 18. We come to 
God with a purpose to ofi'end him. If we come not with a purpose to leave 
our sins, why do we come ? God will not regard our prayers. We must 
come with pure consciences to God, as it is excellently set down, Ps. xxiv. 3, 
' Who shall ascend into thy hill, Lord ? who shall stand in thy holy place ? 
He that hath clean hands and a pure heart.' And then he saith after, 

* That is, ' expedients.' — G. 



* This is the generation of them that seek him,' those that have clean hands 
and a pure heart. Thou hast foul hands ; thou art a briber, a corrupter ; 
thou hast an impure heart ; thou art a filthy creature ; thou hast lived in 
such and such sins ; cleanse thy hands and thy heart. ' This is the gene- 
ration of them that seek him.' If a man seek the pure and holy God with 
an unclean heart and unclean hands ; if he be corrupt in his hands and in 
his heart, that is the fountain, he may seek God long enough before he find 
him, and if he see God, it is in anger, 

4. Again, If we would seek the face and favour of God, let us study the 
word hard. Study the promises, as I said before, bind him with his own 
word. Thou hast said thus, I allege thy own w^ord. Jacob, when he 
wrestled with God, Gen. xxxii. 24, then he saw God ; he called the place 
Peniel, that is, the face of God, because of seeing God. Upon wresthng, 
when the heart by faith wrestleth with God by the promise — ' Lord thou 
hast done this ; though I feel no comfort, yet I will rest upon thee' — that 
place will be Peniel ; the face of God will be there, God will shew himself. 

And let the extremity be what it will, seek God in extremity ; allege 
the word of God in extremity. What word have you for extremity ? ' In 
the mountain God will be seen,' Gen. xxii. 14, His face will be seen in 
the mount ; that is, when there is no other help whatsoever. ' God is a 
present help in trouble,' Ps. xlvi. 5.' He is the ' God that comforteth 
the abject,' 2 Cor. vii. 6, that none else can comfort ; ' and he that is in 
darkness, and sees no hght, let him trust in the name of the Lord,' Isa. 
1. 10. And ' though I were in the valley of the shadow of death,' if the 
Lord be with me, ' I will trust in him,' Ps. xxiii. 4, ' And though thou 
kill me, j'et will I trust in thee,' saith Job, Job xiii. 15. In extremity seek 
God then, and find out words and promises then, as the Scriptures is large 
in that kind ; for then there is most need of seeking God. Lord, if thou 
help not now, none can help. 

And this is the difterence between a true child of God and another. In 
the time of extremity, Saul seeks to the witch ; but David seeks to God, as 
here, ' Lord, thy face will I seek.' Many things upbraided David, no ques- 
tion, with his sin and the afiiiction he was in. Thou seek God ! Thou 
hast ofiended him, and now thou endurest some sign of his displeasure. A 
heavy case, beloved, sometimes, especially in the time of extremity. Then 
conscience saith, I am in extremity, and withal God follows me with such 
and such sins, A guilty conscience meets me in my prayers to God and 
upbraids me, Thou hast done so and so ; that if there be not faith, and a 
word of God to lay hold on in extremity, what will become of the poor 
soul ? It is swallowed up. No question David was now in pangs, and 
many things offered to thrust him off, and he might say, ' I have many 
things to discourage me,' yet ' thy face, Lord, will I seek,' for deliverance 
out of trouble and for pardon of sin. Set the promise of God and the 
pardon of sin above all extremity whatsoever. God is the God of all and 
above all, he is ' the God of comfort.' If comforts be wanting, he can 
make them anew. In the want of means, and when means are against us, 
let us seek to God. Jonah in the whale's belly, that was a creature that 
might have consumed him with heat, ' when he was in the belly of hell, he 
called unto God,' Jonah ii, 2. If a man be as low as hell, if he have a 
command to come, and a promise, it will fetch him thence. Therefore allege 
the promises and the word. 

What a miserable taking are they in, that in extremity have no acquain- 
tance with God's word — with the promises or good examples — that have 



stored up nothing ! Alas ! they are in the midst of a storm naked ; in 
the midst of war and opposition disarmed ; they lie open to all assaults. 
Therefore, as you love your own souls, gather grounds of comfort, treasure 
up promises and holy truths, that in extremity you may say with David, 
upon good ground. Lord, thou hast said thus and thus ; and in this extre- 
mity I come to thee. ' Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' Break through all 
fears and discouragements whatsoever ; allege the command of God, and 
the promise of God, and the encouragements of God. My discouraged heart 
saith thus, and Satan saith thus ; but. Lord, thou sayest thus, ' Seek 
my face.' Shall not I believe and obey God more than the devil or mine 
own lying false heart ? Therefore, except we will betray our souls to 
temptations, and betray the comforts that we have, let us seek God in all 

I desire you to remember these directions, and be encouraged to seek to 
God. Join^'the seeking in extremity, with the seeking him in his ordinances. 
If we do not seek him in his ordinances, in the time of peace, let us never 
think he will be so familiar with us in the time of trouble. If we be not 
acquainted with him in his ordinances in prosperity, in extremity he will 
be far off. Therefore ' seek the face of God' now, in all his ordinances. 
That is the way to have provision of strength against all other extremities 
whatsoever. It is a great comfort in extremity to one that hath sought 
God in his ordinances before. Foolish atheistical men seek not the wisdom 
of God in his ordinances. God cries to them and they regard it not. But 
then they cry to God, and God will not answer them, but ' laugh at their 
destruction,' Ps. xxxvii. 13. And as it is in Zechariah, you cry, ' and I 
will not hear, because I cried and ye would not hear,' vii. 11. When God 
speaks and we regard it not, we shall cry and he wall not regard it. There- 
fore, as we desire his presence in the evil day, let us labour to hear him 
now. Let us search his will, what he requires of us, and what he will do 
for us, and labour to be armed with obedience against the time of distress. 
And let us seek him hetimes. Now presently seek the favour of God, you 
that are young. ' In the morning early will I seek thee,' Ps. Ixiii. 1. In 
the morning of your years, in the morning of the day, it is good to seek 
God, before the heart be possessed with other business, that he may bless 
all our affairs. Seek his face, that his blessing, and direction, and strength 
may be upon all. Let us set upon things in his wisdom and strength, and 
hope on his blessing. 

And in the morning of your years, early, put not off. For here is the 
mischief. If we seek not God early, betimes, the heart will be hardened, 
and will grow worse ; to-morrow we shall be more unfit than to-day. Then 
those that seek in their sickness, and at the hour of death, that is self-love. 
It is grace to seek God for himself, out of old acquaintance and love. But 
to seek him in sickness only, and to neglect his ordinances, it is merely 
self-love. As a malefactor that carries himself ill in prison, and then seeks 
the judge's face at the bar ; when God arraigns a man at the bar, then to 
seek him, it comes from self-love. But that obedience we owe to God is 
to seek him out of a new nature, out of love of God's goodness and grace. 
When we seek him in extremity, not out of the love of grace, but to escape 
the danger of hell and damnation, such seeking seldom proves good. Many 
make a great show of repentance and turning to God, many of those prove 
false. He that is good in affliction only is never good. Therefore put not 
off seeking God's face, by prayer and the use of all good means. 
Many men first settle their estates, and then send for a physician, and 



the divine last of all, when they are sick. Oh but seek God first, and 
above all things in the world, or else we have adulterous, idolatrous hearts, 
to make the face of man our idol, or health our idol. We should seek 
God's face above all. 

The Scripture sets him out sweetly to us. Therefore one way to 
encourage us to seek to God, is to present to our souls God, under those 
sweet terms. He is a rock in the midst of the waves ; he is a habitation 
in the midst of a storm : ' Thou art our habitation,' Ps. Ixxi. 3. He is 
called a hiding-place, he hath the shadow of his wings to cover us ; let us 
fly under the shadow of his wings. He is presented sweetly_ to us m 
Christ. Therefore let us have recourse to him upon all occasions ;_ and 
now, now that we may be familiar with him, that we may bo acquainted 
with him now, in the days of our youth, and he will know us in age and 
sickness. If we be not acquainted with him now, he will not acquaint 
himself with us then. Therefore seek his face now, and above all things 
seek it. 

And can we have more encouragement? There was never any that 
sought the face of God that went away sorry. It is said of some good 
emperors, that never any man went sorry oat of their presence ; either they 
had the grant of their suits or good words {d). God sends none sorry 
away. There are none that come into the presence of God but they are 
the better for it. They go away more cheerful and more satisfied. Their 
consciences are quieted when they pour out their souls to God. There is 
' the peace of God which passeth understanding, preserves their soul,' as it 
is Philip, iv. 7. ' In nothing be careful : but let there be thanksgiving 
for favours received, and let your requests be made known to him; and 
the peace of God shall preserve your hearts and minds,' Philip, iv. 6. 
You shall not despair and be over much cast down, peace will preserve 

And if we do not seek the face of God now, when we may enjoy his 
presence, we shall never see his face in glory hereafter. We must now be 
acquainted with him, or else we shall not when we would.^ Therefore, as 
we may enjoy the presence of God in his ordinances, so in all our affairs 
let us seek his face and blessing. Let us have what we have, and do what 
we do, in his blessing and assistance, and not in the strength of wit and 
shifts.* Let us do what we do by divine strength, and in confidence^ of 
his blessing. That that we do by his strength we may expect his blessing 
on ; we cannot do so by our shifts. Let us inure ourselves in these courses, 
and we shall find much peace ; and by long acquaintance with God we shall 
be able to commit our souls to him ; we shall be able to look him in the 
face at the hour of death. He that looks God in the face often in prayer, 
and seeking him, may look death in the face. These things may be made 
efi'ectual if your hearts be prepared, as the Scripture phrase is. 

And because I mentioned preparing : that is a word in Scripture that is 
set before seeking. Rehoboam did not thrive, he did not ' prepare his 
heart to seek God,' 2 Chron. xii. 14. Jehoshaphat was blessed of God, 
* he prepared his heart to seek the Lord,' 2 Chron. xx. 3. Therefore let 
us come prepared to seek God, prepare our hearts to seek him. Think, 
When I go to the congregation, I go to seek God's face ; therefore come in 
humility and subjection. And in all the courses of our lives, let all of us 
prepare, and set our hearts in frame to seek God in all things ; and let us 
set upon nothing that we cannot depend on him for assistance, and look to 
* That is, ' espedicnts.' — G. 


him for a blessing. And when we cannot enjoy his favour and blessing in 
anything, we were as good be without it as have it. 

This is the way to have our wills in all things. Christ, the truth itself, 
hath left us this one sweet promise, ' Seek ye first the kingdom of God,' 
Matt. vi. 33. He speaks there of seeking our own good. What is the 
best thing we should seek for ? ' Seek ye first the kingdom of God,' of 
grace, and of glory ; the favour of God, and the fruit of his favour, grace. 
Seek those best things in the first place. What then ? It is the way to 
have all things else, as far as they are for our good. But we would have 
more. We think if we seek to God, and depend upon God's divine prin- 
ciples and rules, it is a way to beggary and disgrace. Oh no. It is the 
way to have our own desire in all things, as far as it is for our good. Let 
us seek first the kingdom of God, that God may rule and reign in us, and 
we shall reign in the kingdom of God. For^ other things, God will bring 
it to pass I know not how, they shall be cast upon us. He that is full for 
heaven and happiness, God will make him full for the world, and success- 
ful, as much as he sees fit to bring him to heaven. If God see anything 
that would hinder him, he must leave that to his wisdom. 

Therefore let us labour to be able from truth of heart to return to the 
commandment and promise of God, this sweet and gracious answer of the 
holy man David, when God saith generally or particularly, ' Seek my face,' 
* Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' 


(a) P. 114. — 'As Saint Augustine said of himself, " God spake often to me, and I 
was ignorant of it." ' A frequent self-accusation in the ' Confessions.' Of. note / 
Vol. II. page 194. 

(b) P. 116. — ' God hath framed the Scriptures not to be limited to the times 
wherein they were written, as the papists idly speak, Bellarmine and others.' A 
commonplace of the popish controversy. Of. nnn, Vol. III. page 535. 

(c) P. 125. — ' " Many seek the ruler's favour." In the Greek translation, the Sep- 
tuagint, the word is to " observe " and respect a man, which is translated " seeking."' 
The LXX rendering is oroXXo/ '^i^aVihovGi, i. e., ^s^a'TTsvu) = to wait upon, to 
minister unto, to serve. 

(d) P. 131. — ' It is said of some good emperors, that never any man went sorry 
out of their presence ; either they had the grant of their suits or good words.' This 
is said of various of the Caesars: e.g., Julius C^sar, Antoninus, and later, of Con- 
stantine. Q. 




For the full title-page of the book of which ' A Eescue from Death ' forms the 
second moiety, see Note to the Treatise composing the former, entitled ' Lydia's 
Conversion,' in the second division of the present volume. G. 


Fools, because of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities, are 
afflicted, dc.—?B. CVII. 17, &c. 

This Psalm containetli some passages concerning God's particular, sweet 
providence ; not only to the church, but to other men ; for he that created 
all things, even the meanest creature, must have a providence over all things ; 
his providence must extend itself as large as his creation. For what is 
providence but a continuance of creation : a preservation of those things in 
being that God hath given to have a being. The prophet here of purpose 
opposeth the profane conceits of them that think God sits in heaven, and 
lets things go on earth, as if he cared not for them. It was the fault of the 
best philosophers to ascribe too much to second causes. The psalmist here 
shews that God hath a most particular providence in everything. First, 
he sets it down in general, and then he brancheth it out into particulars, 
especially four, wherein he specifieth God's providence. 

The first instance is of those that ' wander in the wilderness hungry and 
thirsty ;' ver. 4, ' They cry, and God regards them.' 

The second is in ver. 10, ' They that sit in darkness and in the shadow 
of death, bound in iron, they cry, and the Lord heareth them.' 

The third is in the words of the text, ' Fools for their transgressions are 
afflicted ; their soul abhorreth all manner of meat.' He instanceth in sick- 
ness, the most ordinary affliction, and shews that God hath a most particular 
providence even in that. 

The fourth is in ver. 23, ' Those that go down into the sea, they see ' 
experiments* of God's particular providence. 

Since the fall, the life of a man is subject to a wondrous many incon- 
veniences, which we have brought on us by our sins. Now in this variety 
it is a comfortable thing to know God's care of us in our wanderings and 
imprisonments, in our sickness, &c. But to omit the other three, and to 
come to that that is proper to the place, that is, the instance of God's pro- 
vidence in sickness. 

' Fools, because of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities, 
are afflicted,' &c. 

* That is, ' have experience of.' — G. 


In these words you have, 

First, The cause of this visitation, and of all the grievance he speaks of : 
' transgression and iniquity.' 

And then the kind of this visitation : ' sickness.' 

And the extremity, in two branches : ' Their soul abhon-eth all manner 
of meat ;' and secondly, ' They draw near to the gates of death.' 

And then the carriage of the affected* and sick parties : ' They cry unto 
the Lord in their distress.' 

And the remedy, of the universal and great physician : ' He saves them 
out of their distress.' 

And the manner of this remedy : ' He sent his word and healed them ; ' 
his operative and commanding word, so as it works with his command. 

Lastly, the fee that this high commander asks for ; all the tribute or 
reward that he expects is praise and thanksgiving. ' Oh that men would 
therefore praise the Lord for his goodness, and his wondrous works for the 
children of men,' &c. 

So you see this Scripture contains several passages between God and 
man, in misery and in deliverance. In misery : — God afflicts man for his sin. 
The passage of man to God is, ' He cries to God.' God's passage back 
again is his ' deliverance,' and then his return back again must be ' thanks- 
giving.' So here is a double visitation, in justice God correcting sin ; and 
then a visitation in mercy, upon their crying and praying, God restores 
them ; and then man's duty, ' thanksgiving.' Bat to proceed in order. 

' Fools, because of their transgressions,' &c. 

Here you have first the quality of the persons set down. 

' Fools.' 

We must understand by * fools,' wicked fools ; not such fools as are to 
be begged, as we say ; that are defective in their naturals, f but the ' wise 
fools ' of the world. They are the chief of fools. However in the courts 
of men they be not found fools, yet they are fools in God's esteem, who is 
wisdom itself. Those that think themselves wise, that are conceitedly wise, 
they are these fools here. 

In the phrase of Scripture and the language of the Holy Ghost, every 
sinner is a ' fool.' It were a disgraceful term if any man should give it ; 
but let no man stumble at it. It comes from the wise God that knows what 
wisdom is, and what is folly. If a fool shall call a man ' fool,' he doth'not 
regard it ; but if a wise man, especially the ' God of wisdom,' call a man 
' fool,' he hath reason to regard it. Who can judge better of wisdom than 
God, who is * only wise ' ? 

Why are wicked men fools ? and God's children, so far as they yield to their 
lusts ? 

In divers respects. 

1. First, For lack of discerniny in all the carriage and passar/es of their 
lives. You know a fool is such a one as cannot discern the difference of 
things, that is defective in his judgment. Discerning and judgment, that 
especially tries a fool, when he cannot discern between pearls and pebbles, 
between jewels and ordinary base things. So wicked men are defective in 
their judgments. They cannot discern aright between spiritual and heavenly 
things, and other things. All your worldly fools, he hunts after and placeth his 
happiness in things meaner than himself; he takes shadows for substances. 

2. A fool is led icith his humour and his lust, even as the beast. So there 
* Qu. 'afflicted'?— G. t That is, (natural) ' reason. '—G. 



is no wicked man that shakes off the fear of God, ' which is true wisdom,' 
Prov. i. 7, but he is led with his humour, and passion, and affection to 
some earthly thing. Now a man can never be wise and passionate, unless 
in one case, when the good is so exceeding that no passion can be answer- 
able ; as in zeal in divine matters. That will excuse all exorbitant car- 
riage otherwise. When David ' danced before the ark,' a man would think 
it had been a foohsh matter, except it had been a divine business, 2 Sam. 
vi. 14. When the matter is wondrous great, that it deserves any pitch of 
affection, then a man may be eager and wise ; but for the things of this 
life, for a man to disquiet himself and others, to hunt after a ' vain shadow,' 
as the psalmist saith, after riches and honour, and to neglect the main end 
of a man's life, it is extreme folly. A man that is passionate in this respect 
cannot be wise. All fools are passionate, and wicked men have their affec- 
tions set deeply on somewhat else besides God. Because passion presents 
things in a false glass, as when a man sees the sun through a cloud he 
seems bigger. When men look on things in* the judgment of the Scripture, 
and the Spirit of God, and right reason, but through affection, things 
appear to them otherwise than they are, and themselves afterwards see 
themselves fools. Take a worldling on his deathbed, or in hell. He sees 
himself a fool then. When his drunkenness is past ; when he is come to 
himself and is sober, he sees that he hath catched, all his hfetime, after 
shadows. Wicked men that are carried with their lusts to earthly things, 
they cannot be wise. Therefore the ' rich man' in the gospel, is called a 
' fool,' Luke xii. 20 ; and in Jer xvii. 11, he speaks of a man that 'labours 
all his lifetime, and in the end is a fool.' Is not he a fool that will carry 
a burden, and load himself in his journey more than he needs ? And is 
not he a spiritual fool that ' loads himself with thick clay,' as the prophet 
calls it, Hab. ii. 6, and makes his pilgrimage more cumbersome than he 
needs ? Is not he a ' fool' that lays the heaviest weight on the weakest ? 
that puts off the heaviest burden of repentance to the time of sickness, and 
trouble, and death, when all his troubles meet in a centro, as it were, and 
he hath enough to do to conflict with his sickness ? 

3. Again, He is a ' fool' that will play with edge tools, that makes a sport 
of sin. He is a ' fool' that provokes his betters ; that shoots up arrows 
and casts up stones, that shall fall on his own head. He that darts out 
oaths and blasphemies against God, that shall return back upon his own 
pate, Ps. vii. 16. Many such fools there are. ' God will not hold them 
guiltless,' Exod. xx. 7. 

4. He is a ' fool' that knows not, or forgets his end. Every wicked man 
forgets the end wherefore he lives in the world. He comes here into the 
world, and lives, and is turned out of the world again, and never considers 
the work that he hath to do here,' but is carried like a ' fool,' with affec- 
tions and passions to earthly things, as if he had been born only for them. 
A wise man hath an end prefixed in all that he doth, and he works to that 
end. Now there is no man but a sound sanctified Christian, that hath a 
right end, and that works to that end. Other men pretend they have an 
end, and thej'' would serve God, &c. 

They pretend heaven, but they work to the earthward ; like moles, they 
dig in the earth. They work not to the end they pretend to fix to them- 
selves. All men, how witty soever they are otherwise, in worldly respects, 
they are but ' fools.' As we say of owls, they can see, but it is by night : 
so wicked men are witty, but it is in works of darkness. They are wise ' in 
* Qu, ' not in ' ?— Ed. 



their own generation,' among men like themselves. But this is not the 
life wherein folly and wisdom can be discerned so well. It will appear at 
the hour of death, and the day of judgment. Then those will be found 
wise that are wise for eternity ; that have provided how it shall go with 
them when all earthly things shall fail them ; and those will be ' fools' that 
have only a particular wit for the particular passages of this life ; to con- 
trive particular ends and neglect the main. They are penny wise and pound 
foolish. Ahithophel, a witty wiseman, his * coimsel was an oracle, yet he 
was not wise to prevent his own destruction, 2 Sam. xvi. 23. 

5. He is a madman, a ' fool,' that hurts and icounds himself. None else 
will do so. Wicked carnal men, they wound, and hurt, and stab their own 
consciences. Oh, if any man should do them but the thousandth part of the 
harm that they do themselves every day, they would not endure it. They gall 
and load their consciences with many sins, and they do it to themselves. 
Therefore it is a deserved title that is given them. God meets with the pride 
of men in this term of folly. For a wicked man, above all things, is careful to 
avoid this imputation of ' fool.' Account him what you will, so you account 
him a shrewd man withal, that can overreach others, that he is crafty and 
wise, he glories in the reputation of wisdom, though God account him a 
fool, and he shall be found so afterward ; and to abate the pride of men, he 
brings a disgraceful term over their wit and learning, and calls them fools. 

Use 1. This should abase any man that is not a right and sound Christian, 
that the ' God of wisdom,' and the Scripture — that is, God's word — esteems 
of all wicked men, be what they will, to be * fools,' and that in their own 
judgments, if they be not atheists, if they will gi-ant the principles they 
pretend to believe. 

Let this, therefore, be an aggravation in your thoughts when you are 
tempted to commit any sin. Oh, besides that it is a transgression and 
rebellion against God's commandment, it is ' folly in Israel,' and this will 
be ' bitterness in the end.' 

Use 2. Is he not a ' fool' that will do that in an instant, that he may 
repent many years after ? Is he not a foolish man, in matter of diet, that 
will take that that he shall complain of a long time after ? None will be 
so foolish in outward things. So when we are tempted to sin, think. Is it 
not folly to do this, when the time will come that I shall wish it undone 
again, with the loss of a world if I had it to give ? 

Use 3. And beg of God the xvisdoni of the Holy Ghost, to judge aright of 
things, the ' eye-salve of the Spirit of God, to discern of things that differ,' 
Rev. iii. 18 ; to judge spiritual riches to be best, and spiritual nobility and 
excellency to be best ; and to judge of sinful courses to be base, however 
otherwise painful.* Let us labour for grace. ' The fear of the Lord is the 
beginning of wisdom,' Prov. i. 7. Those that do not fear the Lord, they 
have no wisdom. 

Use 4. And pass notf for the vain censures of wicked men. Thou art 
hindered from the practice of religious duties, and from a conscionablej 
course of life. Why ? Perhaps thou shalt be accounted a fool. By whom ? 
By those that are fools indeed, in the judgment of him who is wisdom 
indeed, God himself. Who would care to be accounted a fool of a fool ? 
We see the Scripture judgeth wicked men here to be ' fools.' 

We must not extend it only to wicked men, but even likewise God's 
children, when they yield to their corruptions and passions, they are foolish 

* Qu. ' gainful '?— Ed. J That is, 'conscientious.'— G. 

t That is, ' heed not.' — G. 



for the time : in Ps. xxxviii. 5, ' My wounds stink and are corrupt, because of 
my foolishness ;' and in Ps. Ixxiii. 22, ' So foolish was I and ignorant,' &c. 

Therefore, when any base thought of God's providence comes in our 
mind, or any temptation to sin, let us think it ' folly ; ' and when we are 
overtaken with any sin, let us befool ourselves, and judge it, as God doth, 
to be foolishness. This is the ground and foundation of repentance. So 
much for the quality of the persons here described, ' fools.' 

I come to the cause. 

* Because of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities.' 

Transgression especially hath reference to rebellion against God and his 
ordinances in the first table. Iniquity hath reference to the breach of the 
second table, against men ; and both these have their rise from folly. For 
want of wisdom causeth rebellion against God, and iniquity against men. 
All breaches of God's will come from spiritual folly. 

Why doth he begin with transgressions against the first table, and then 
iniquities, the breach of the second ? 

Because all breaches of the second table issue from the breach of ihe 
first. A man is never unjust to his neighbours, that doth not rebel against 
God's will in the first table ; and the foundation of obedience and duty to 
man, it riseth from man's obedience to God. Therefore the second table 
is like the first : that is, our love to our neighbour is like to our love of 
God ; not only like it, but it springs from it. For all comes from the love 
of God. Therefore the first command of the first table runs through all 
the commandments. ' Thou shalt honour God ; ' and honour man, because 
we honour God. A man never denies obedience to his superior, to the 
magistrate, &c., but he denies it to God first ; a man never wrongs man, 
but he disobeys God first. Therefore, the apostles lay the duties of the 
second table in the Scriptures upon the first. St Paul always begins his 
epistles with the duties to God and religion, and when he hath discharged 
that, he comes to parents, and masters, and children, and servants, and 
such particular duties ; because the spring of our duty to man is our duty 
to God, and the first justice is the justice of religion to God. _ When we 
are not just to give God his due, thereupon come all breaches in our civil 
conversation and commerce with men. For want of the fear of God, men 
do this : as Joseph said, ' How shall I do this, and ofiend God ? ' Gen. 
xxxix. 9 ; and Abraham, he had a conceit they would abuse his wife, * Surely 
the fear of God is not here,' Gen. xx. 13. Therefore he thought they would 
not be afraid to do anything. He that fears not God, if opportunity serve, 
he will not be afraid to violate the second table. He that fears God, he 
will reason, ' How shall I do this,' to wrong another in his name and repu- 
tation, or in his estate, and sin against God ? For I cannot sin against 
man, but I must first sin against God. That is the reason he sets it down 
thus, transgressions and iniquities. 

See an unhappy succession of sin, that where there is transgression there 
will be iniquity ; when a man yields to lust once, presently he breaks upon 
God's due, and then upon man's. One sin draws on another._ _ As we see 
David giving way to one sin, it brought another ; so the giving way to 
transgression, neglecting the word of God and duties of religion, presently 
another follows, neglect of duty to men. ^ 

Use. Take heed of the beginnings of sin. There are degrees jn Satan s 
school from ill to worse, till we come to worst of all ; and there is no stay- 
ing. It is like the descent down a steep hill. Let us stop in the beginnmg 



by any means. As we would avoid iniquity, let us take heed of trans- 

' Are afflicted.' 

He means, especially, that affliction of sickness, as appears by the words 

Doct. Sin is the cause of all sickness. 

* Fools, for their transgressions and iniquities, are afflicted.' For God's 
quarrel is especially against the soul, and to the body because of the soul. 
I will not dwell on this point, having spoken of it at large on another text, 
1 Cor. xi. 31.* 

Use 1. The use that I will make of it now, shall be, first of all, if sin be the 
cause of all sickness, let %is justify God and condemn ourselves : complain of 
ourselves, and not of God. ' Wherefore doth the living man complain,' 
Lam. iii. 39, and murmur and fret ? Man suffereth for his sin. Justify 
God, and judge ourselves. ' I will bear the wrath of the Lord, because I 
have sinned against him,' Micah vii. 9. Judge ourselves, and we shall not 
be judged,' 1 Cor. xi. 31. 

2. Then again, is sin the cause of sickness ? It should teach us patience. 

• I held my tongue, because thou. Lord, didst it,' Ps. xxxix. 2. Shall not 
a man be patient in that he hath procured by his own evil and sin ? 

3. And search ourselves ; for usually it is for some particular sin, which 
conscience will tell a man of; and sometimes the kind of the punishment 
will tell a man. For sins of the body, God punisheth in the body. He 
pays men home in their own coin. ' What measure a man measureth to 
others shall be measured to him again,' Mat. vii. 2. If a man have been 
cruel to others, God will stir up those that shall be so to him ; therefore 
we should labour to part with our particular transgressions and iniquities. 
It is a general truth for all ills whatsoever, as well as this of sickness. 
Therefore we should first of all go to God by confession of sin. It is a 
preposterous course that the athestical careless world takes ; where the 
physician ends, there the divine begins ; when they know not what to do. 
If diseases come from sin, then make use of the divine first, to certify the 
conscience, and to acquaint a man with his own mercy. First, to search 
them, and let them see the guilt of their sins, and then to speak comfort 
to them, and to set accounts straight between God and them, as in Ps. 
xxxii. 4 — an excellent place — David ' roared ; his moisture was turned into 
the drought of summer.' What course doth he take ? He doth not run 
to the physician presently, but goes to God. ' Then said I.' It was an 
inward resolution and speech of the mind. Then I concluded with myself, 

* I will confess my sin to God, and thou forgavest my iniquities and sins,' 
Ps. xxxii. 5. So body and soul were healed at once. Divinity herein 
transcends all other arts ; not only corrupt nature and corrupt courses, but 
all other. For the physician he looks to the cause of the sickness out of 
a man or in a man ; out of a man, and then especially in contagious sick- 
ness, he looks to the influence of the heavens. In such a 3''ear, such con- 
junctions and such eclipses have been ; he looks to the infection of the 
air, to subordinate causes, to contagious company, and to diet, &c. (a). 
And then in a man, to the distemper of the humours and of the spirits. 
When the instrument of nature is out of tune, it is the cause of sickness. 
But the divine, and every Christian, — that should be a divine in this respect, 
— goes higher, and sees all the discord between God and us. There is not 

* Cf. Sibbes's ' Glance of Heaven ' in Vol. IV.— G. 


that sweet harmony there ; and so all the jars in second causes come from 
God as the cause inflicting : from sin, as the cause demeriting. The divine 
considers those two alway. The physician looks to the inward distemper 
and the outward contagion ; and this is well, and may be done without 
sin. But men must join this too, to look into conscience, and look up to 
God, together with looking for help to the physician, because we have 
especially to deal with God. 

I would this were considered, that we might carry ourselves more Chris- 
tian-like under any affliction whatsoever. What is the reason that people 
murmur, and struggle, and strive, ' as a bull in a net,' as the prophet 
speaks, Isa. h. 20, when God hampers them in some judgment ? They 
look to the second causes, and never look to clear the conscience of sin, 
nor never look to God, when indeed the ground of all is God offended 
by sin. 

' Fools for their transgressions are afflicted.' 

We by our sins put a rod into God's hand — ' a rod for the fool's back,' 
as Solomon saith, Prov. xxvi. 3; and when we will befools, we must needs 
endure the scourge and rod in one kind or other. Those that will sin 
must look for a rod. It is the best reward of wicked and vain fools, that 
* make a jest of sin,' Prov. xiv. 9 — as the wise man saith, ' They cast 
firebrands, and say, Am I not in jest?' Prov. xxvi. 18 — that rail and 
scorn at good things; that swear and carry themselves in a loose, ridiculous, 
scandalous fashion, as if God did not eye their carriage ; and yet ' Am I 
not in jest ?' Well, it is no jesting matter. Sin is like a secret poison ; 
perhaps it doth not work presently. As there are some kind of subtile 
poisons made in these days, — wherein the devil hath whetted men's wits, — 
that will work perhaps a year after, so sin, if it be once committed, perhaps 
it doth not kill presently, but ' there is death in the pot,' 2 Kings iv. 40. 
Thou art a child of death as soon as ever thou hast committed sin ; as 
Salvian saith well, ' Thou perishest before thou perish' (b). The sentence 
is upon thee. Thou art a dead man. God, to wait for thy repentance, 
prolongs thy days ; but as soon as thou hast sinned without repentance, 
thou art a ' child of death.' And as poison, that works secretly a while, 
yet in time it appears ; so at last ' the fruit of sin will be death.' Sin 
and death came in together. Take heed of all sin ; it is no dallying 

' Their soul abhors all manner of meat.' 

This is one branch of the extremity of the sickness, the loathing of 
meat ; for God hath put a correspondency between food that is necessary 
for man and man's relish. For man being in this world to be supported, 
the natural moisture being to be supplied and repaired by nourishment, as 
it is spent by the natural heat which feeds upon it ; therefore God hath 
put a sweetness into meat, that man might delight to do that which is 
necessary ; for who would care for meat if it were not necessary ? There- 
fore, being necessary, God hath put delightful tastes in meats, to draw men 
to the use of them, to preserve their being for the serving of him. Now 
when these things savour not, when the relish of a man is distempered that 
he cannot judge aright of meats, when the palate is vitiated, there must 
needs follow sickness. For a man cannot do that that should maintain his 
strength ; he cannot feed on the creature ; therefore the psalmist setting 
down the extremity of sickness, he saith, ' Their soul abhorreth all manner 
of meat.' This the great physician of heaven and earth sets down as a 


symptom of a sick state, when one cannot relish and digest meat. Ex- 
perience seals this truth, and proves it to be true. 

You see, then, the happiness of epicures, how unstable and vain it is, 
whose chief good is in the creature ! God by sickness can make them 
disrelish all ' manner of meat ; ' and where is the summum honum then of 
all your belly-gods, your sensual persons ? 

Again, In that he saith, ' Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat,' it 
should teach us to bless God not only for meat, but for stomachs to eat. 
It is a blessing common, and therefore forgotten. It is a double blessing 
when God provides daily for our outward man, and then gives a stomach 
to relish his goodness in the creature. Sometimes a poor man wants meat, 
and hath a stomach ; sometimes a rich man wants a stomach, when he hath 
meat. They that have both have cause to bless God, because it is a judg- 
ment when God takes away the appetite, that men ' abhor and loathe all 
manner of meat.' 

Therefore, if we would maintain thankfulness to God, labour to thank 
God for common blessings. What if God should take away a man's 
stomach ? We see his state here : he is ' at the gates of death.' There- 
fore thank God that he maintains us with comforts in our pilgrimage ; and 
withal, that he gives us strength to take the comfort of the creature. 

We see here again one rule how to converse with them that are sick. 
Blessed is he that understands the estate of the afflicted and sick, not to 
take it ill to see them wayward. It comes not from the mind, but from 
the distemper of the bod3\ As we bear with children, so we must bear 
with men in those distempers, if they have food and yet loathe it. You 
see how it is with men in that case, * their soul abhorreth all manner of 
meat.' It should teach us to sympathise with those that are sick, if we 
see them in these distempers. 

The next branch of the extremity is, 

* They draw near the gates of death.' 

Death is a great commander, a great tyrant ; and hath gates to sit in, 
as judges and magistrates used to ' sit in the gates.'* There are things 
implied in this phrase. 

1. First, ' They draw near to the gates of death ;' that is, they were 
' near to death ;' as he that draws near the gates of a city is near the city, 
because the gates enter into the city. 

2. Secondly, Gates are applied to death for authority. They were 
almost in death's jurisdiction. Death is a great tyrant. He rules over 
all the men in the world, over kings and potentates, and over mean men ; 
and the greatest men fear death most. He is * the king of fears,' as Job 
calls him. Job xviii. 14 ; ay, and the fear of kings. Yet death that is 
thus feared in this life by wicked men, at the day of judgment, of all things 
in the world they shall desire death most ; according to that in the Apoca- 
lypse, ' they shall desire death, and it shall not come to them,' Piev. ix. G. 
They shall subsist to eternal misery. That that men are most afraid of in 
this life, that they shall wish most to come to them in the world to come — 
Oh that I might die ! what a pitiful state are wicked men in ! — Therefore 
it is called the ' gate of death.' It rules and overrules all mankind. 
Therefore it is said ' to reign,' Rom. v. 21. Death and sin came in to- 
gether. Sin was the gate that let in death, and ever since death reigned, 
and will, till Christ perfectly triumph over it, who is the King of that 

* Cf. Gen. sis. 1 ; 2 Sam. iii. 27 ; Job ssxi. 21 ; Ps. Ixix. 12.— G. 


lord and commander, and hath 'the key of hell and death,' Eev. i. 18. 
To wicked men, I say, he is a tyrant, and hath a gate ; and when they go 
through the ' gate of death,' they go to a worse, to a lower place, to hell. 
It is the trap-door to hell. 

3. Thirdly, By the 'gate of death' is meant not only the authority, but 
the 230wer of death ; as in the gospel, 'the gates of hell shall not prevail 
against it,' Mat. xvi. 18 : that is, the power and strength of hell. So here 
it implies the strength of death, which is very great, for it subdues all. It 
is the executioner of God's justice. 

Use. If death hath such a jurisdiction, and power, and strength, let us 
labour to disarm it beforehand. It is in our power to make death stingless, 
and toothless, and harmless ; nay, we may make it advantageous, for the 
' gate of death ' may become the gate of happiness. Let us labour to have 
our part and portion in Christ, who hath the ' key of hell and death,' who 
hath overcome and conquered this tyrant : ' death, where is thy sting ? 
grave, where is thy victory ? ' ' Thanks be unto God, who hath given 
us victory, through Jesus Christ our Lord,' 1 Cor. xv. 55, 57, that 
now we need not fear death ; that though death have a gate, yet it is a 
gate to let us into heaven, as it is a door to let the wicked into hell. So 
much for that. 

In the next place, we come to their carriage in their extremity. 

* They cried to God in their trouble.' 

This is the carriage of man in extreme ills, if he have any fear of God 
in him, to pray ; and then prayers are cries. They are darted out of the 
heart, as it were, to heaven. It is said, ' Christ made strong cries,' lieb. 
V. ,7- In extremity, prayers are ' cries.' Hence I observe briefly these 

Doct. That God suffers men to fall into extreme ills, even to the gates of 
death ; that there is hut a step heticeen them and death. 


Reason 1. To wean them perfectly from the ivorld. To make them more 
thankful when they recover ; for what is the reason that men are so slight 
in thanksgiving ? Usually the reason is, they did not conceive that they 
were in such extreme danger as they were. 

2. Likewise he suffers men to fall into extreme sickness that he may 
have all the glorj/, for it was his doing. There was no second cause to 
help here, for their soul ' abhorred all manner of meat, and they were 
even at the gates of death.' Now, when all second causes fail, then God 
is exalted. Therefore he suffers men to fall into extremity. The greater 
the malady, the more is the glory of the physician. 

The second thing is this, as God brings his children into extremity, so 

God's children i)i extrentity they cry to him. 

Extremity of afflictions doth force prayers : ' In their affliction they will 
seek me early.' When all second causes fail, then we go to God. Nature 
therefore is against atheism. As one observes, that naturally men run to 
God in extremity (c) — ' Lord, succour me' — so, especially in the church, in 
extremity, God's people cry to God ; and as afflictions, so particularly this 
of sickness of body drives men to God. God should not hear of us many 
times, unless he should come near us by afflictions, and deep afflictions. 
' Out of the deep have I cried,' Ps. cxxx. 1. God brings us to the deep, 
and then we cry. Our nature is so naught,* that God should not hear of 
* That is, ' naughty' = wicked. — G. 


US, as I said, unless lie send some messenger after us, some affliction to 
bring us home, as Absalom dealt by Joab when he ' fired his corn.' In 
the gospel, Christ had never heard of many people, had it not been for some . 
infirmity. But blessed arc those sicknesses and infirmities that occasion 
us to go to God, that makes us cry to God. It was the speech of a heathen, 
' We are best when we are weakest' ((/). Why? As he saith very well, 
* Who is ambitious, voluptuous, or covetous for the world when he is sick, 
when he sees the vanity of these things ? ' 

This should make us submit more meekly unto God, when we are under 
his hand, when we are his prisoners by sickness, when he casts us on 
our sick beds, because God is working our good, he is di'awing us nearer 
to him. 

' Then they cried to him.' 

So we see, then, that i^rayer it is a remechj in a remediless estate, when 
there is no other remedy ; and this is one difference between a child of 
God and another. In extremity, a carnal man that hath not grace, he hath 
not a spirit of prayer to go to God ; but a child of God he cries to God. 
He had acquaintance with God in the time of health. Therefore he goes 
boldly to God as a father in the time of extremity. God's children can 
answer God's dealing ; for as he brings his children to extremity, when 
there is no second cause to help, so they answer him by faith. In extremity, 
when there is nothing to trust unto, they trust him ; when there is no 
physic in the world that can charm the disease, they have a spirit of faith 
to answer God's dealing in the greatest misery, as Job saith, ' Though he 
kill me, yet will I trust in him,' Job xiii. 15. 

For God is not tied to second causes, and therefore if he have ' delight 
in us,' and if he have any service for us to do, he can recover us from the 
' gates of death,' nay, from death itself; as we see Christ in the gospel 
raised from the dead — and at the resurrection he will raise us from death — 
much more can he raise us from the ' gates of death,' when we are ' near 

Therefore, considering that prayer is a remedy in all maladies, in a 
remediless estate, let us labour to have a spiiit of prayer, and to be in such 
a state as we may pray. 

What state is that ? 

1. First, Talie heed of heinrj in league with any nn. ' If I regard iniquity 
in my heart, God will not hear my prayer,' Ps. Ixvi. 18 ; nay, he will not 
hear others' prayers for us. Oh what a pitiful state is it when God will 
not hear us nor others for us. * Pray not for this people,' saith God to 
Jeremiah, ' and if Noah, Daniel, and Job stood before me, they should but 
deliver their own souls,' Ezek. xiv. 14. If a man be in a peremptory 
course of sin, and will not be reclaimed, but is like the ' deaf adder, that 
will not be charmed,' Ps. Iviii. 4, God will not hear prayers for him. Will 
God hear a rebel when he comes to him for mercy, and is in a course 
opposite to God's will ? As if a traitor should come to sue for pardon with 
a dagger in his hand, which were to increase the treason ; so when a man 
comes to God and cries to him, and yet purposeth to live in sin, and his 
conscience tells him that he ofters violence to God by his sins, and lives in 
rebellious courses, God will not hear his prayers. 

2. Again, If we would be in such a state as God may accept us when we 
come to him, let us hear God ichen he cries to its. He cries to us in the 
ministry of the word : ' Wisdom hath lift up her voice,' Prov. i. 20 ; and 
this is God's course. He will hear us when we hear him. ' He that turns 


his ear from hearing of the law, his prayer shall be abominable,' Prov. 
xxviii. 9. Those that do not attend upon God's ordinances, that will have 
a kind of devotion private to themselves, and avoid the public ordinance, 
that fear perhaps they shall hear somewhat that would awaken their con- 
science, and they would not ' be tormented before their time,' Mat. viii. 29, 
let them consider — it is a terrible speech of Solomon — ' He that turns his 
ear from hearing the law, his prayer shall be abominable.' Let us take 
heed. It is a fearful thing to be in such an estate, that neither our own 
prayers nor others, shall be regarded for us ; and let any man judge, if 
we will not hear God speak to us, is it fit that he should hear us speaking 
to him ? 

And before I leave the point, let me press it a little further. At this 
time We have cause to bless God for the deliverance of the city.-'-- Oh, but let 
all that have the spirit of prayer, that have any familiarity with God, improve 
all their interest in heaven at this time. Do we not conceive what danger 
we are in ? what enemies we have provoked ? What if we be free from 
the sickness, are we not in danger of worse matters than the sickness ? 
' Is it not worse to fall into the hands of our enemies ?' 2 Sam. xxiv. 14. 
Have we not great, provoked, cruel, idolatrous enemies ? Therefore let us 
jointly now, all cry to God, and importi;ne him, that he would be good to 
the State ; that as he hath given us a pledge of his favour in delivering us 
from the plague, so he would not be weary of doing good unto us, but that 
he would still make it a token of further favours and deliverances hereafter ; 
that as he delivered us in former times, in '88, f and magnified his mercy 
to us, so now he would not expose us to the cruelty of idolatrous enemies, 
* whose mercies are cruel,' Prov. xii. 10. Let us stir up ourselves. 
Security and carelessness alway foreruns one destruction or other. 

Prayer will do a great deal more good now, than when trouble hath 
overtaken us ; for now it is a sign it comes from a religious seeking of God, 
then it comes from self-love. There is a great deal of diflerence when a 
malefactor seeks to the judge before the time of the assizes, and when he 
seeks to him at the present time ; for then it is merely out of self-respect, 
and not respect to him. If we seek to God now, he will single and mark 
out those that mourn for the sins of the time, and pour out their spirits to 
him in prayer, that he would still dwell and continue the means of salvation 
amongst us ; when God, I say, ' comes to gather his jewels,' Mai. iii. 17, 
he will single and call out them as peculiar to himself. 

Therefore let us in all our prayers put in the church. Things do more 
than speak. They cry to us to cry to God earnestly. Put case we be 
not in trouble ourselves, our prayers will be the more acceptable. Before 
trouble come, it is the only way to prevent it, as it is the only way to rescue 
us when we are in trouble. 

I come now to the remedy. 

' He saved them out of their distress.' 

God is a physician, good at all manner of sicknesses. It is no matter what 
the disease be, if God be the physician. Though they be as these ' at the 
gates of death,' he can fetch them back. Herein God difiers from all other 

First of all, he is a general physician. He can heal a land, a whole 
kingdom, of sickness, of pestilence, and as it is in 2 Chron. vii. 14. 

* The plague of 1625-6.— G. 

t That is, 1588, from the Armada. — G. 




Then he is a physician of body and soul, of both parts. And then he is 
not tied to means. 

Other physicians can cure, but they must have means. Other physicians 
cannot cure all manner of diseases, nor in all places, but God can cure all. 
' He saved them out of their distress.' 

Other physicians cannot be alway present, but God is so to every one 
of his patients. He is a compassionate, tender, present physician. 

Use. Which should encourage us in any extremity, especially in sickness 
of body, to hare recourse to God, and never to despair though we be brought 
never so low. He that can raise the dead bodies can raise us out of any 
sickness. Therefore let us use the means ; and when there is no means, 
trust God, for he can work beyond means and without means. 

' They cried to the Lord, and he saved them out of their distress.' It 
was the fruit of their prayers. 

Doct. There was never any ijrayer from the beginning of the world made to 
God successlesshj . 

What, should I speak of prayer ! Our very breathings are known to God, 
when we cannot speak, our sighs ; as it is Ps. xxxviii. 9, ' My groans and 
sighs are not hid from thee.' God hath a ' bottle for our tears,' Ps. Ivi. 8, 
and preserves our sighs and groans. There is nothing that is spiritual in 
us but God regards, as in Eom. viii. 26, ' We know not what to ask, but 
the Spirit of God stirreth up in us sighs and groans that cannot be ex- 
pressed.' And God hears the voice of the sighs of his own Spirit. 

Let us also be exhorted'from this issue to ' cry unto the Lord ;' for there 
was never any man did sow prayers in the breast and bosom of God, but 
he received the fruit of it. He is a God ' hearing prayer.' He will not 
lose his attribute. Nay, further, mark, the instances in this psalm are 
not made only of men in the church, but likewise of men out of the church, 
of men that have not the true religion. They pray to God, as creatures 
to the Creator ; and though God have not their souls, yet he will not be 
beholding to any man for duties. If Ahab do but hypocritically fast, 
Ahab shall have outward deliverance for his outward humiliation ; and 
these men mentioned in the text, if they call to God but as creatures, 
and not to idols, God will regard them in outward things, and deliver 
them. God will not be in any man's debt for any service to him, though 
it be outward. 

And do we think that he that regards * dogs' out of the church, will 
neglect his children in the church ? He that regards heathen men when 
they pray to him in their extremity, and delivers them to shew his over- 
flowing bounty and goodness, will he not regard his own children, that have 
the spirit of adoption, of supplication, and prayer ; that put up their suits 
and supplications in the mediation and sweet name of Christ ? Will he 
not regard the name and intercession of his Son and of his Spirit, the Holy 
Ghost, stirring up prayers in them, and the state of his children, being his 
by adoption, since he regards the very heathen ? 

Nay, more than so, ' God hears the very young ravens,' Job xxxviii. 41, 
and spreads a table for every living thing ; and will not sutler them to die 
for hunger, but provides for them, because they are his creatures. And 
will he not for his children, those that he hath taken to be so near him, to 
be heirs of heaven and happiness ? Let us, I say, be encouraged to cry 
unto the Lord upon all occasions. If God be so good as to dehver sinful 
men, — that have nothing in them but the principles of nature, — when they 
fly to God in prayer, as the author and preserver of nature, much more 


will he hear his own children. ' He will give his Spirit to them that ask 
him ' Luke xi. 13. 

Obj. But here may an objection he made, I have cried long ! I am hoarse 
with crying ! I have waited a long time ! I have been a long time sick, or 
annoyed with some particular trouble !f and God seems, as it were, to 
stop his ears, to harden his heart against me, to shut up his bowels of 
compassion and pity, therefore I were as good give over as continue still 
crying and not be heard. 

Ans. I answer, there is no one duty almost, more pressed in Scripture 
than ' waiting and watching to prayer.' Wait still. Hath not God waited 
thy leisure long enough, and wilt not thou wait on him ? 

A patient, when he feels his body distempered by physic. Oh, he cries 
out, partly for the physic, and partly for the sickness, that trouble him 
both together, and make civil war in his body, yet notwithstanding the 
physician wisely lets it work. He shall have no cordial, nor nothing to 
hinder it ; he lets it go on till the physic have wrought well, and carried away 
the malignant matter, that he may be the better for it, and [in] that, he is a 
loving and tender physician. Yet so God, when we are in trouble, it is as 
physic. We cry, but God he turns the glass* as the physicians do. Nay, 
this time shall be expired. It shall work so long. Till thy pride be taken 
away, thou shalt be humbled thoroughly ; till thou be weaned from thy 
former wicked pleasures ; till thou be prepared to receive further blessings. 
Therefore they cry and cry, and God defers to hear the ' voice of his chil- 
dren.' In the mean time he loves to hear the ' cry of his children,' and 
their prayer is as ' sweet incense ;' yet he defers still. But all is for the 
patient's good. Be not weary of waiting. It is a great mercy that he makes 
thee able to continue crying, that thou hast the Spirit of prayer ; that thou 
canst pour out thy soul to God. It is a great mercy, and so account of it. 

Perhaps thou hast not cast out thy Jonah, thy Achan ; that there is 
some particular sin unrepented of; and thou criest and criest, but thy sin 
cries louder. Thy pride or thy oppression cries, thy wicked course cries. 
Thou criest unto God, and there is another thing cries in thee, that cries 
vengeance as thou doest for mercy. Therefore search out thy Achan ; cast 
out thy beloved sin ; see * if thou regard iniquity in thy heart,' if thou 
regard any pleasing, or profitable, or gainful sin ; and never think that God 
will hear thee till that be out, for it will outci-y thy prayers. 

The next thing is the manner of God's cure. 

* He sent his word and healed them.' 

What word ? 

His secret command, his will. 

Let such a thing be, as in the creation, * Let there be light,' &c. Besides 
his word written, there is his word creating, and preserving things created ; 
and so here, restoring them that were sick, ' He sent his word and healed 
them ;' and so at the resurrection, his word, his voice shall raise our bodies 
again. It is a strange manner of cure for God to cure by his word, by his 
command. It shews that God hath an universal command of all things in 
the world, in heaven and earth, over devils, and over sicknesses ; as it is 
said in the gospel, ' He rebuked the sicknesses,' Mat. xvii. 18. He can 
rebuke the agues, the plague, and the pestilence, and they shall be gone 
by his word, as the centurion said, ' I am a man that have servants under 
me : and I say to one. Come, and he cometh ; and to another, Go, and he 
* That is, ' hour or time-glass.' — G. 


goeth,' Mat. y'm. 8, seq. ; so thou hast all things under thee, thou art God ; 
and if thou say to a disease, ' Come, it cometh ;' and if thou say, ' Go, it 
goeth.' God ' sent his word of command and healed them.' It is but ' a 
word of God' to heal, but ' a word of God' to strike. He is the ' Lord of 
hosts.' ' If he do but hiss,' as the prophet saith, ' for the fly of Egypt,' 
Isa. vii. 18, if he do but call for an enemy, they come at his word ; as we 
see in Pharaoh's plagues, the flies and frogs, all things, obey his word. 

There is a secret obedience in all things to God, when his will is that 
they shall do this or that. Why doth the sea keep his bounds, whenas the 
nature and position of the sea is to be above the earth ? It is the command 
of God, that hath said. Let it be there, and ' hither shall thy proud waves 
go, and no further,' Job xxxviii. 11. I might give many instances how 
God doth all by his word. The devils are at his word ; the whales ; the 
sea, when Christ rebukes it, obeys. 

Use. It should teach us not to displease this God, that can strike us in 
the midst of our sins even with a word. Let us fear this God. Put case 
we had no enemy in the world : God can arm a man's humours against him. 
He can raise the spirit and soul against itself, and make it fight against 
itself by desperate thoughts. He needed not foreign forces for Ahithophel 
and Saul, he could arm their own souls against themselves. And when he 
will take down the greatest giant in the world, he needs not foreign forces. 
It is but working of a disease, but giving way to a humour, but inflaming 
the spirits, and the soul * shall abhor all manner of meat.' 

Again, He gives a command, a rebuke, and they are gone 2)resenthj. 
Therefore let us not offend this great God, that is commander of heaven 
and earth ; let us labour to please him, and it is no matter who else we 
displease. For he hath all things at his command, even the ' hearts of 
kings as the rivers of water,' Prov. xxi. 1. When Esau sought for Jacob 
to hurt him, there was a secret command God set upon him to love him. 
Therefore we should fear him, and all other things shall fear us. We need 
fear nothing, so we have a care to fear God, further than in God and for 
God. But not so to fear them, as to do evil for them and offend the great 
God, that can with a word command sickness to come, or bid it begone. 

Again, In that God, when all second causes fail, can ' heal by his word,' 
therefore let tis never be discouraged from jy^aying. e Though we see a hurly- 
burly and tumult in the church, though we see all Europe in combustion, 
and the church driven into a narrow corner, let us not give over prayer. 
For Christ, that with a word commanded ' the waves to be still,' and ' the 
devils to be gone,' and they presently obeyed him, he can still the waves 
of the church ; he can put a ' hook into the nostrils' of his enemies, and 
draw them which way he please ; he can still all with ' his word.' There- 
fore, howsoever things seem to run contrary and opposite to our desires, 
yet let us not give over. He that sees no ground of hope in carnal fleshly 
reason, let him despair of nothing. Despair shuts the gate and door of 
mercy and hope, as it were. You see here, when all means fail, when 
they were ' at the very gates' and entry of death, God fetcheth them back 
again. How ? With physic ? No. He is not tied to physic. There is 
diflerence between God and between nature and art. Nature and art can 
do nothing without means ; but the God of nature and art can do it with 
his word. How made he this heaven and earth, this glorious fabric ? With 
his word, 'Let there be light, and there was light,' &c., Gen. i. 3. And 
how shall he restore all again ? With his mighty commanding word. 
How doth he preserve things ? By his word. How are things multi- 


plied ? By his word, ' Increase and multiply,' a word of blessing. He 
doth all things with his word. 

So he can confound his enemies with a word. Nay, Christ in his greatest 
abasement, when they came with staves and arms to take him, ' \Vhom 
seek ye ? ' saith he. That word ' struck down all the officers of the Scribes 
and Pharisees ; they fell flat on the ground,' John xviii. 4, seq. Could he 
in his humiliation, before his great abasement on the cross, strike down his 
enemies with his word ? "What shall he do at the day of judgment, when all 
flesh shall appear before him ? And what can he do now at the right hand 
of God in heaven ? Let us never despair, what state soever we be in, in 
our own persons, or in respect of the church or commonwealth. Let us 
yet pray, yet solicit God, and wrestle with him ; for we see here, when 
they were at the ' gates of death,' he fetcheth them again with * his word.' 
He can fetch things again when they are at destruction, as it were. When 
man's wit is at a loss, that he knoweth not what course to take, God with 
a word can turn all things acjain. 

' Oh that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness, and for 
his wonderful works to the children of men ! Let them sacrifice the sac- 
rifice of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.' 

You see that God, the great physician, he is good at all diseases. He 
is never set at anything, for he can create helps and remedies, of nothing. 
If there be none in nature, he can create peace to the soul. In the midst 
of trouble of conscience, God can make things out of nothing, nay, out of 
contraries. You see here what this great physician hath done. He fetched 
them ' from the gates of death, when their soul abhorred all manner of 
meat ;' and what doth he require for all this great cure ? Surely the text 
tells us he looks for nothing but praise. 

' Oh that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness,' &c. 

In which words you have these circumstances considerable, together with 
the substance of the duty : 

First, The persons who must praise God : * Oh that men would praise 
the Lord.' 

And then the duty they are to perform : * to praise God,' to * sacrifice 
to God,' to ' declare his works ' — one main duty expressed by three terms. 

The third is for what they should praise him : ' for his goodness.' It 
is the spring of all, for all particular actions do come from his nature. 
His nature is goodness itself, and indeed all other attributes are founded 
on goodness. Why is he gracious, and merciful, and long- suffering ? 
Because he is good. This is the primitive attribute. 

And then another thing for which we must praise him : ' for his wondrous 
works for the children of men.' 

Fourthly, The manner how this should be done : * with rejoicing and 
singing,' as the word signifies {e), ' declare his works with rejoicing.' For 
as all holy actions must be done joyfully and cheerfully, so especially 
praise : * God loveth a cheerful giver,' 2 Cor. ix 7, much more a cheerful 
thanksgiver, for cheerfulness is the very nature of thanksgiving. It is a 
dead sacrifice, of thanksgiving, it is a dead sacrifice else. These are the 
many things considerable in these words, 

First of all, of the persons. 

' Oh that men would praise the Lord.' 

The blessed psalmist, whosoever he were, directed by the Spirit of God, 



he would have all men to praise God ; not only those that participate and 
have interest in the favour, but the beholders also of the goodness of God 
to others. For here he that was not interested in these favours for his 
own particular, yet he praiseth God for the blessings to others; and he 
wisheth that God might have praise from them. 

For we are all of one society, of one family, we are all brethren ; there- 
fore we must praise God for his blessings and benefits on others : and not 
only for ourselves, but we must wish that all would do so; and specially 
we must 'praise God' for ourselves, when we have part of the benefit. 
For shall others 'praise God' for us, and shall not we for ourselves? 
Shall the churches of God abroad 'praise God' for his great deliverance of 
this city — as there is no church in the world that hears of it but is thankful 
for it — and shall not we for ourselves ? Shall the angels in heaven ' praise 
God,' and sing for the redemption of the church by the blood of Christ, 
* Glory to God on high, peace on earth, good will to men ? ' Luke ii. 13, 14 ; 
and shall not we, that have interest in the work of redemption ? for Christ 
is not a mediator of redemption to angels. He hath relation to them in 
another respect. Yet they out of love to God and the church, and a 
desire to glorify God, they 'praise God' for this; and shall not we much 
more for ourselves ? We must praise God ourselves, and desire that all 
would do so, as he saith here, ' Oh that men would praise the Lord,' &c.; 
and in some other psalms he stirs up all the creatures, ' hail, and snow, 
and wind,' and all to praise God. 

How can these ' praise God ' ? 
, ° They do it by our mouths, by giving us occasion to praise him. And 
they ' praise him ' in themselves ; for as the creature groaneth, Eom. viii. 23, 
that none knows but God and itself; they groan for the corruption and 
abuse that they are subject unto, and God knows those groans. So the 
creature hath a kind of voice likewise in praising of God. They declare 
in their nature the goodness of God, and minister occasion to us to praise 
God. Therefore the psalmist being desirous that God might be praised 
for his ' goodness and mercy,' he stirs up every creature, Ps. ciii. 20, seq., 
even the very angels, insinuating that it is a work fit for angels. 

The children of God have such a love and zeal to the glory of God, that 
they are not content only to praise God themselves, but they stir up all. 
They need not to wish angels to do it, but only to shew theii- desire. Oh 
the blessed disposition of those that love God in Christ ! 

What shall we think then of those wretched persons that grieve that the 
' word of God should run and have free passage, and be glorious,' 2 Thes. 
iii. 1, and that there should be a free use of the sacraments and the blessed 
means of salvation ? They envy the glory of God, and the salvation of 
people's souls. What shall we say to those that desire to hear God dis- 
honoured, that perhaps swear and blaspheme, themselves, or if they do 
not, yet they are not touched in their hearts for the dishonour of God by 
others ? This is far from the disposition of a Christian. He desires that 
all creatures may trumpet out the praise of God, from the highest angel to 
the lowest creature, from the sun and stars to the meanest shrub ; only 
devilish- spirited carnal men take delight to blaspheme God, that can strike 
them with his word and send them to their own place, to hell, without 
repentance, and can hear him dishonoured without any touch of spirit. A 
child of God desires God to be glorified from his very heart-root, and is 
grieved when God is dishonoured any kind of way. So much briefly for 
the first. 


Now wliat is the duty this holy man wishes ? 

' That men would praise God. And sacrifice the sacrifice of thanks- 
giving, and declare his works.' 

Out of the largeness of his heart he expresseth the same thing in many 
words, therefore I shall not need to make any scruple in particulai-ising of 
them, because there is not so much heed to be given in the expressions of 
a large heart as to be punctual in everything. 

First, He begins with praise. 

* Oh that men would therefore praise the Lord,' &c. 

It is a duty, as I said before, fit for angels. Fit ! Nay, it is performed 
by them. For it is all the work they do. It is the only work that was 
religious, that Adam did in paradise, and that we shall do in heaven with 
God. Therefore we are never more in heaven than when we take all occa- 
sions of blessing and ' praising God.' We are never in a more happy 

It is a duty therefore we should aim at, and the rather, because it is the 
fruit and end of all other duties whatsoever. What is the end of all the 
good we do, but to shew our thankfulness to God? The end of our fruit- 
fulness in our place ? That others may take occasion to glorify God. 
What is the end of our hearing ? To get knowledge and grace, that we 
may be the better able to praise God in our mouths and in our lives. 
What is the end of receiving the sacrament ? Nay, what is the duty 
itself ? A thanksgiving. What is the end of prayer ? To beg graces and 
strength that so we may carry ourselves in our places as is fit ; that so we 
may not want those things without which we cannot so well glorify God. 
So the end of all is to glorify God. 

It is the end that God intended in all. He framed all things to his own 
praise in the creation. Why hath God given man reason here upon the 
stage of the world ? To behold the creatures, Eom. i. 19, 20, that seeing 
in the creature ' the wisdom of God in ordering things,' ' the goodness of 
God' in the use of things, and the ' power of God' in the greatness of 
things, the huge, vast heaven and earth, he might take occasion to glorify 
and magnify this God, to think highly of him, to exalt him in our 
thoughts ; that his creatures, heaven and earth, be so beautiful and excel- 
lent, what excellency is in God himself ! 

And as the end of creation, so in redemption, all is for his glory and 
praise. InEph. i. 6, how sweetly doth Saint Paul set forth the end of it : 
' To the glory of his rich mercy and grace.' To be merciful to sinners ; 
to give his own Son ; for God to become man, not for man in that estate 
as Adam was in innocency, but for sinners ; for God to triumph over sin 
by his infinite mercy : here is the glory of his grace shining in the gospel. 
All is for the glory and praise of God there. 

And for particular deliverances, in Ps. 1. 15, ' Call upon me in the day 
of trouble : I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.' His deliverances 
of us in the passages of our life is, that we may glorify him, by taking notice 
in imminent dangers of some of his attributes, when there is no means 
of deliverance, of his power and goodness, &c. In Kev. iv. 10, the elders 
are brought in praising God for the work of creation ; and then in the fifth, 
ver. 12, for ' redemption,' ' Thou art worthy, for thou hast redeemed us.' 
So indeed the work of creation, redemption, and the particular passages of 
God's providence, and protection, and preservation, they are matter of praise 
in heaven and earth among God's people. 


Now to name a few helps and means to perform tliis duty the better. 

If we would stir up ourselves to praise God, let tis consider our own iin- 
u-orthiness. As in prayer there must be a humble heart — for a man will 
not seek abroad if he have somewhat at home : poverty of spirit and 
humility of heart makes a man pray — so it is the humble soul that 
' praiseth God,' that sees no desert in itself. This is one way to help us 
to ' praise God,' to see nothing in ourselves why God should so regard us, 
as ' to give us our lives for a prey,' Jer. xxi. 9, to set his love on us, and 
to follow us with good ; nay, we have deserved the contrary, that God 
should leave us and expose us to misery, rather than to watch over us by 
his providence. What is in us ? ' It is he that hath made us, and not 
we ourselves,' Ps. c. 3 ; and he made us again when we were sinners, 
when we were worse than nought. Therefore, to humble us, we must con- 
sider our own unworthiness. He that knows himself unworthy of any 
favour, he will be thankful even for the least, as we see in Jacob, ' I am 
less than the least of all thy favours,' Gen. xxxii. 10. Therefore he was 
thankful for the least. So we see here in the text. These men are 
stirred up to ' praise God.' They saw no other help, no worthiness 
in themselves. They were at the gates of death, in a desperate estate ; 
' Oh that such men would praise God.' Indeed, such men are fittest 
to ' praise God,' that can ascribe help to nothing but to God, to no second 

Therefore, in the next place, as a branch of the former, if we would praise 
God, divell not on the second causes. If God use second causes in any favour 
he bestows on us, either in keeping us from any ill, or bestowing any good, 
consider it as a means that God might dispense with ; that he might use if 
he would, or not use. See God in the second causes ; rise from them to 
him. Art thou healed by physic ? Use physic as a means, but see God 
in it. But if God hath cured thee without physic, without ordinary means, 
then see him more immediately doing good to thee without the help of 
second causes. That is one way to help us to praise God, to see him in 
every favour and deliverance. For what could second causes do, if he 
should not give a blessing ? Especially praise him when he hath imme- 
diately* done it, as he can. Did not he make light before there was a sun ? 
He is not tied to give light by the sun ; and he made waters before he 
made the clouds. He is not tied to the clouds. Therefore especially ' praise 
God ' when we have deliverance we know not how, without means, imme- 
diately from the goodness and strength of God. 

Again, If we would ' praise God ' for any favour, consider the necessity and 
use of the favour we 2jrayfor, as these men here ; they were at death's door, 
and ' loathed all manner of meat.' Alas ! they had died if God had not 
helped them. If thou wouldst bless God, consider what a miserable state 
thou shouldst be in if thou hadst not that favour to praise God for. If 
thou be to bless God for thy senses, put case thou shouldst want thy sight, 
what a miserable case thou shouldst be in ! So for any of the senses 
that a man wants, whereby he should glorify God, and take the comfort of 
the creature, put case a man should want his taste, as these men here — 
' their soul abhorred all manner of meat ' — alas ! what a miserable case is it 
to want a relish and taste of the comfort that God hath put into the 
creatures ; put case we should want the meanest benefit we enjoy, how 
uncomfortable would our lives be ! 

This spark of reason that God hath given us, that we have understanding 
■*' That if, ' without means.' — G. 



to conceive things, which is the engine whereby we do all things as men, 
and are capable of the grace of God, what a miserable thing were it if God 
should take away our wits, or suspend the use of them ? 

But especially in matters of grace, if God had not sent Christ to redeem 
the world, what a cursed condition had we lain in, nest to devils ? 

Again, If we would praise God, let m every day keep a diary of his favours 
and blessiuf/s: what good he doth us privately, what positive blessmgs he 
bestows upon us, and what dangers he frees us from, and continues and 
renews his mercy every day ; and publicly what benefit we have by the state 
we live in. Oh what a happy state is it that we live in peace, that weenjoy 
such laws, ' that every man may sit under his own vine, and under his own 
fig-tree,' Micah iv. 4, and enjoy the comforts of life, when all the_ world 
about us are and have been in combustion ! We should keep a register of 
God's blessings. Oh that we could learn to have such exact lives ! It 
would breed a world of comfort, and we should have a less account to make 
when we die. 

Every day labour to be humbled for our sins, specially such as break 
the peace of our consciences, and never give our bodies rest till our hearts 
have rest in the favour of God ; and together with matter of humiliation, 
daily observe how God bestows new favours, or else continues the old ; that 
notwithstanding our provocation and forgetfulness of him, he strives with us 
by his goodness. This is a blessed duty that we should labour to per- 

And then when we have done this, let us rouse up all that we are, and 
all that we have within us, to praise God. Ps. ciii. 1, ' My soul, praise the 
Lord, and all that is within me praise his holy name.' What have we 
within us to praise God ? Let us praise God with our understanding, to 
conceive and have a right judgment of God's favours, of the worthiness of 
them and our own unworthiness, and then a sanctified memory. ' Forget 
not all his benefits,' Ps. ciii. 2. Forgetfulness is the grave of Gods 
blessings. It buries all. And then there is in us the afl'ection of joy and 
love to God to taste him largely, and then all within us will be large in the 
praising of God. And our tongue likewise, though that be not withm us, 
it is called our ' glory,' Ps. xvi. 9 and Ps. Ivii. 8 ; let us make it our glory 
in this, to trumpet out God's praise upon all occasions. All that is within 
us, and all that we are, or have, or can do, let it be all to the glory and 
' praise of God.' 

To draw to a conclusion, with some general application of all that hath 
been spoken, and then in particular to the present occasion. 

You know how God hath dealt of late with this city,* and with ourselves 
indeed ; for we are all of one body politic, and however God visited them, 
yet it was our sins also that provoked him. We brought sticks to the 
common fire. A physician lets the arm blood, but the whole body is dis- 
tempered. God let the city blood, but the whole kmgdom was m a 
distemper. So that it was for our sins as well as theirs. We all brought, L 
say, something to the common flame, and God afllicted us even m them 
God hath now stayed the sickness almost as miraculously as he sent it. It 
was a wonder that so many should be swept away in so short a time, it 
is almost as great a wonder that God should stay it so soon. And what 
may we impute it unto ? Surely as it is in the text. ' They cried unto 
the Lord.' God put it into the hearts of, the governors of the^tate to 
appoint humiliation and ' crying to God,' and therefore since God hath 
* In margin here, ' In the great visitation, 1625.'— G. 


been so merciful upon our humiliation, it is religiously and worthily done 
of the State, that there should be a time to ' bless God.' 

Again, God did it with a word, with a command. It was both in the 
inflicting and delivery, as it were, without means ; for what could the 
physician do in staying the plague ? Alas, all the skill in the world is at 
a loss in these kinds of sicknesses ! It comes with God's command. It is 
God's arrow more especially than other sicknesses. God sent it by his 
command, first to humble us for our sin ; and now he hath stayed it with a 
word of command, that from above five thousand a week it is come to three 
persons. ' God hath sent his word and healed us.' 

It was a pitiful state we were in before ; for indeed it was not only a 
sickness upon the city, but a civil sickness. The whole state was dis- 
tempered ; for as there is sickness in the body when there is obstruction, 
when there is not a passage for the spirits and the blood from the liver, 
and from the heart, and from the head, these obstructions cause weakness, 
and faintings, and consumption. So was there not an obstruction in the 
State of late ? Were not the veins of the kingdom stopped ? Was not 
civil commerce stayed ? The affliction of this great city, it was as the 
affliction of the head, or of the heart, or of the liver. If the main vital 
part be sick, the whole is sick; so the whole kingdom, not only by way of 
sympathy, but it was civilty sick, in regard that all trading and intercourse 
was stopped ; it was a heavy visitation. And we have much cause to bless 
God that now the ' ways of this Sion ' of ours ' mourn not ; ' that there is 
free commerce and intercourse as before ; that we can meet thus peaceably 
and quietly at God's ordinances, and about our ordinary callings. Those 
that have an apprehension of the thing, cannot choose but break out in 
thanksgiving to God in divers respects. 

1. First of all, have not we matter to praise God that he would correct 
us at all ? He might have sufiered us to have gone on and been ' damned 
with the wicked world;' as it is 1 Cor. xi. 32, 'We are therefore chastened 
of the Lord, that we should not be damned with the world.' It is his 
mercy that he would take us into his hands as children, that he would 
visit us at all. 

2. Another ground of thanksgiving is this, that since he would correct 
us, he li'oidd use this kind of correction, that he would take us into his own 
hands. Might he not have suffered a furious, bloody, dark- spirited, devilish- 
spirited enemy to have invaded us ? to have fallen into the hard hands of 
men acted with devilish malice ? David thought this a favour, even that 
God would single him out to punish him with the plague of pestilence, that 
he might not 'fall before his enemies,' 2 Sam. xxiv. 14. The mercies of 
God are wondrous great when we ' fall into his hands.' He is a ' merciful 
God.' He hath tender bowels full of pity and compassion. But the very 
mercies of wicked idolaters ' are cruel.' There was a mercy, therefore, in 
that, that God would take us into his own hands. 

8. In the third place. We see when he had taken us into his own hands, 
how he hath stopped the rarjing of the pestilence, and hath inhibited the 
destroying angel even in a wondrous manner ; that the plague, when it was 
BO raging, that it should come to decrease upon a sudden. God was won- 
drous in this work. Is not here matter of praise ? 

4. Then again. It is a mercy to us all here that he should ' give us our 
lives for a prey ; ' as God saith in Jeremiah to Baruch, ' Wheresoever thou 
goest, thou shalt have thy life for a prey,' Jer. xxi. 9. Might not God's 
arrow have followed us wheresoever we went ? 


WTiither can a man go from this arrow, but that God being everywhere, 
might smite him with the pestilence ? Now, in that he hath watched over 
us, and kept us from this noisome contagious sickness, and hath brought 
us altogether here quietly and freely, that so there may be intercourse 
between man and man in trading and other calling, this is the fourth ground 
of ' praising of God.' 

5. And that it did not rage in other parts. In former time God scattered 
the pestilence more over the kingdom. It is a great matter to bless God 
for. I beseech you, let us say with the same spirit as this holy man 
here, * Oh that men, therefore, would praise the Lord for his goodness, 
and for the wonders that he doth for the children of men ! ' — for his 
goodness, that he would rather correct us here than damn us ; for his 
goodness, that he would not give us up to our enemies ; for his goodness, 
that he stayed the infection so suddenly, and that he stayed the spreading 
of it further ; for his goodness unto us in particular, that he hath kept us 
all safe. 

What shall we do now but consecrate and dedicate these lives of ours ; for 
he gives us our lives more than once, at the beginning. There is never a 
one here but can say by experience, God hath given me my life at such a 
time and such a time. Let us give these lives again to God, labour to 
reform our former courses, and enter into a new covenant with God. This 
is one part of thanksgiving, to renew our covenant with God, to please him 
better ; and indeed, in every thanksgiving that should be one ingredient. 
Now, Lord, I intend and resolve to please thee better. Whatsoever my 
faults have formerly been, I resolve by thy grace and assistance to break 
them off. Without this, all the other is but a dead performance. 

Now, briefly, by way of analogy and proportion, to raise some medita- 
tions from that that hath been delivered concerning the body, to the soul ; 
for God is the physician both to soul and body. 

If God with his word can heal our bodies, as the psalmist saith here, 
much more can he with his word heal our soul. There are many that their 
bodies are well, thanks be to God, but how is it with their souls ? Here 
you have some symptoms to know their spiritual state ; and oh that people 
were apprehensive of it ! Have you not many that their ' soul loatheth all 
manner of meat,' and they ' draw near the gates of death ? ' Their souls 
are in a desperate state. They are deeply sick. How shall we know it ? 
Their soul ' abhorreth all manner of wholesome meat.' How many are 
there that relish poets and history, any trifle that doth but feed their vain 
fancy, and yet cannot reHsh the blessed truth and ordinances of God? 
Where is spiritual life when this spiritual sense is gone, when men cannot 
relish holy things ? If they relish the ordinance of God, it is not the 
spiritual part of it, so far as the Spirit toucheth the conscience, but some- 
thing that, it may be, is suitable to their conceit, expressions, or phrases, 
or the like. But it is a symptom and sign of a fearful declining state when 
men do not relish the spiritual ordinances of God, which should be, as it 
were, ' their appointed food ; ' when they do not ' delight to acquaint them- 
selves with God,' in hearing of the word, and reading, and the like. Let 
such, therefore, as delight not in spiritual things, know that their souls lie 
gasping ; they are at the ' gates ' of spiritual death. All is not well. There 
is some fearful obstruction upon the soul that takes away the appetite. 
The soul runs into the world over much. They cloy themselves with the 
world. When men cannot relish heavenly things, they are ate up with 
the delight and joy of other things, pleasures, and profits. 



Let them search the cause, and labour for purging, sharp, things that may 
procure an appetite. 

, Let them judge themselves, and see what is the matter, that they do not 
delight more in heavenly things ; let them purge themselves by confession 
to God, and consideration of their sins, and labour to recover their appe- 
tite. For it is almost a desperate estate, ' they are at the gates of death.' 

Especially now when we come to the communion. What do we here, if 
we cannot relish the food of our souls ? Let us examine if we desire to 
taste the love of God, and to be acquainted with God here. If not, what 
shall we do in these spiritual distempers ? 

Desire of God, cry to God, that he would forgive our sins and heal our 
souls by his Holy Spirit, that he would make us more spiritual, to relish 
heavenly things better than we have done before, that as the things that 
are heavenly are better in their kind than other things are, so they may 
be better to our taste. 

_ A man may know the judgment of his state when he answereth not the 
difference of things. What the difference is between the food of life and 
ordinary food ; what the difference is between the comforts of the Holy 
Ghost and other comforts ; between the riches and pelf of the world and 
the riches of the Spirit ; the graces of God, that will cause a man to live 
and die with comfort ; the true riches, that make the soul rich to eternity : 
there is no comparison. Beg of God this spiritual relish to discern ' of 
things that differ,' Heb. v. 14, that we may recover our appetite. God by 
his Avord and Spirit can do it, not only the word written, but the inward 
spiritual word written in our hearts. Desire God to join his Spirit with his 
word and sacraments, and that will recover our taste and make us spiritual, 
that we shall relish him that is both the feast-maker and the feast itself. 
He is both the meat and the provider of the banquet. 

For whence is it that all other things are sweet to us ? deliverance 
from trouble and sickness ? Because it is a pledge of our spiritual deli- 
verance in Christ. The deliverance from hell and damnation, what comfort 
can a man have that knows not his state in grace, in the enjoying of his 
health, when he shall think he is but as a ' sheep kept for the slaughter ? ' 
He knows not whether he be in the favour of God or no. 

Therefore let us come and renew our faith in the forgiveness of our sins 
through the blood of Christ, of whom we are made partakers in the sacra- 
ment. For if we believe our deliverance from hell and damnation by the 
body of Christ broken and his blood shed, then everything will be sweet. 
When we know God loves us to life everlasting, then everything in the way 
to life everlasting, even daily bread, will be sweet, because the same love 
that gives heaven gives daily food, and the same love that redeems us 
from helljredeems us from sickness. Therefore let us labour to strengthen 
our faith in the main, that we may be thankful for the less. And as we 
enter into new covenant Avith God, so labour to keep it ; in Lev. xxvi. 14, 
seq., everything avengeth the breaking of God's covenant. When Ave make 
covenant to serve him better for the time to come, and yet break it, God 
is forced to send his messenger. He sends sickness to avenge his coA^enant. 
Considering that he hath lately so avenged it, let it make us so much the 
more circumspect in our carriage. So much for this time and text. 

Thomas Wykes. 
3foy 11 



(a) P. 140. — ' In such a year, snch conjunctions and sucli eclipses,' &c. One of 
various allusions to astrology, a faith in -which Sibbes shared with the most illus- 
trious of his contemporaries, e.g.. Bacon, Sir Thomas Browne, &c. 

(b) P. 141. — ' As Salvian saith well, " Tnou perishest before thou perish." ' Of. 
note d, Vol. V. page 34. 

(c) P. 143. — ' As one observes, that naturally men run to God in extremity.' 
Many curious and striking illustrations of this will be found in the old Puritan 
' Commentaries' on the Book of Jonah, chap. i. verses 5, 6, and parallel passages. 
It is an observation common to Cicero, and all writers on ' Natural Eeligion.' 

(d) P. 144. — ' It was the speech of a heathen,' &c. A variation of the proverb, 
' Man's extremity is God's opportunity.' 

(e) P. 149. — '"With rejoicing and singing," as the word signifies.' Cf. Dr 
Joseph Addison Alexander m loc, who, with Sibbes, supplies 'joyful' before 
'singing.' G. 




'The Saint's Comforts ' forms a moiety of a small volume (18mo) published in 
1638. The general title-page of the Yolume is given below.* It will be observed 
that Sibbes's name does not appear thereon, but on the other sermons it does. Pro- 
bably the name was withheld from the ' Comforts, ' as being from 'Notes ' without 
Sibbes's sanction. Next to ' The Spiritual Favourite, ' this volume is the rarest of 
his books. I have been able to trace only another copy besides my own, viz., that 
in the Bodleian. I have to acknowledge the kindness of the Rev. Henry Creswell 
of Canterbury in procuring ' Tlie Saint's Comforts ' for me. The other sermons will 
be foimd in their place in Vol. VII, G. 

* THE 

Being the substance of di- 
verse Sermons Preached 
on, Psal. 130. the beginning. 
The Saints Uappinesse, on Psal. 

73. 28. 
The Rich Pearle ; on 3Iath. 13. 

45, 4G. 
The Successe of the Gospell, on, 

Luk. 7. 34, 35. 
Maries Choice, on Luk. 10. 38, 
39, 40. 

By a Reverend Divine now 
with God. 

Printed at London by Tho. Cotes, and 
are to be sold by Peter Cole, at the signe of the 
Glove in Corne-hil ueere the Exchange. 1638. 

On reverse — 

Tho. Wykes. Octob. 5. 1G37. 



Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, God. — Ver. 1. 

This psalm is a pithy psalm, and therefore is called a psalm of degrees. 
Other reasons the Jews give of this title, but they agree not. Some will 
have it that these psalms were sung upon the fifteen stairs that went up to 
the temple. Some call them thus, for that they say they were sung with 
an extraordinary high voice. But in these difficulties, Melius est duhitare 
de occultis, quam litif/nre de incertis. All historical truths are not necessary 
to be known, for Christ did many things that were not written, John xx. 30. 

The author is not named. However, we may assure ourselves the Spirit 
of God indited it, setting down, first, the state of the writer, ver. 1 ; 
secondly, his carriage in that estate : ' He prayed, being in depths,' ver. 2 ; 
thirdly, the ground of his prayer, which was God's mercy, ver. 3 ; his 
own faith, hope, and patience ; his waiting, is simply laid down, ver. 5, 
and comparatively, ver. 6 ; and fourthly, an application to the whole church, 
ver. 7, from his own experience of God's mercy and sufiiciency. 

Out of the first part, concerning the state of the writer of this psalm, let 
us observe these particulars, following in their order: first, that the children 
of God do fall into depths ; that is, into extremity of misery and afiliction, 
which are called ' depths ;' because as waters and depths, so these, do swallow 
up and drown the soul, and because they do compass about the soul, bury- 
ing it in great, terrible, continuing deep dangers ; and these depths of a 
Christian are either outward or inward. The outward troubles and depths 
are those of the body. These God's children are afflicted with, as Jonah 
was when he was in the bottom of the sea, Joseph in prison, and Paul in 
the dungeon ; and these are like the man of God to the Shunamite, 1 Kings 
xvii. 18, they do but call our sins to remembrance. But the inward spiritual 
troubles are the great depths ; that is, trouble of mind for sin that lies upon 
us, causing us to doubt of our estate, to feel God's wrath, to fear rejection 
and excluding from God's presence. This is the soul of sorrow ; other 
outward sorrows being but the carcase of sorrow. * The spirit of a man will 
bear his infirmities ; but a wounded spirit who can bear ?' Prov. xviii. 14. 
In such an estate, in regard of the extremity of the burden of the sins of 
the whole world laid on him, was our head, Christ Jesus, making him sweat 


162 THE saint's comforts: 

* drops of blood,' Luke xxii. 44 ; and when he was on the cross, when he 
cried with strong cries and tears, ' My God, my God, why hast thou for- 
saken me ?' Mark xv. 34. But ivliy is this thus, that the Prince* of our 
salvation should be in such a depth of misery ? I answer, because it was 
requisite that salvation should be repaired by the contrary means to that 
whereby it was lost. It was lost by lifting up. Adam would be like a 
god ; and Christ he regained us by abasing himself. The Son of God must 
become man, and a man of sorrows ; and as the head was, so the members 
have been and must be, Eom. viii. 29, ' for we are predestinated to be like 
the image of his Son,' and so to pledge him in the same cup wherein he 
drank deep to us. In this plight we find David often, though a man after 
God's own heart, Ps. vi. 2, 3, Ps. Ixxxviii. 2, &c., Ps. xl. 12 ; and Jonah, 
a prophet, Jonah ii. 2, &c. ; and Hezekiah, Isa. xxxviii. 13 ; and Job 
especially. Job vi. 4. But why is this thus, seeing our head, Christ Jesus, 
hath suffered for us ? I answer, we must suffer. 

Reason 1. First, That we may know what Christ suffered for us Inj our oim 
experience, without which we should but lightly esteem of our redemption, 
not knowing how to value Christ's sufferings sufficiently, which is a horrible 
sin, Heb. ii. 3. 

Reason 2. Secondly, By our sufferings we know what a hitter thinrj sin is, 
Jer. ii. 19, as by the ill consequents thereof : for without the taste of God's 
WTath, we find nothing but sweetness and pleasure in sin ; and therefore, 
we have so much sense of God's wrath as to humble us, but shews not the 
extremity of the depth of sin, lest we should sink down into despair. 

Reason 3. Thirdly, By our afflictions and depths, ice manifest God's j)oiver 
and glory the more in our deliverance : for the greater the trouble is, the 
greater is the deliverance ; as the greater the cure is, the greater credit the 
physician gets. 

Reason 4. Fourthly, Many times, by less evils, it is God's manner to cure 
greater ; and thus he suffers us to feel wrath, to cure us of security, which 
is as a grave to the soul ; as also to cure spiritual pride, that robs us of 
grace, dealing with us as he did with the Israelites. He would not cast 
out all the nations from before them, but left some that might be employed 
in hunting and destroying the wild beasts, which might else multiply against 
the children of Israel. And thus God dealt with Paul, gave him to be vexed 
by a base temptation, lest he should be lifted up with spiritual pride, 
through the abundance of revelations, 2 Cor. xii. 7. 

Reason 5. Fifthly, These depths are left to its, to make us more desirous of 
heaven ; else great men, that are compassed about with earthly comforts, 
alas, with what zeal could they pray, ' Thy kingdom come,' &c. ? No ; 
with Peter they would rather say, * Master, it is good for us to be here,' 
Mark ix. 5 ; and therefore, it is God's usual deahng with great men, to 
suffer them to fall into spiritual desertions, to smoke them out of the world, 
whether they will or not. 

Reason 6. Sixthly, God works by these afflictions in ?« a more gentleness of 
spirit, making us meek and pitiful tou-ards those that are in depths, which, was 
one cause of Christ's afflictions : he suffered, that he might help and com- 
fort others. He suffered Peter to stumble, that when he was converted, he 
should ' strengthen his brethren,' Luke xxii. 32. 

Use 1. Hence therefore we learn 7iot to p)ass a rash censure on ourselves or 
others that are in such depths as this holy man was in ; for the afflicted soul 
no sooner tastes of this bitter fruit, but presently breaks out into complaints. 
* Misprinted ' point.' — G-. 


* Never was any tlius afflicted as I,' thinking it unpossible that there should 
be greater crosses, than it feels ; when indeed the draught that Christ our 
head did drink to us, was far beyond the apprehension of mortal man, and 
therefore much more beyond his power to undergo. Let us beware how 
we censure others that are afflicted, for God's ends are hid. It may_ be 
God sends afflictions to manifest some excellent graces which lie in him, 
unknown both to the world and himself; and so he set Job as a flag of 
defiance against the devil, bidding him do his worst. He should find him 
upright, and a just man ; and therefore we should rather take notice of 
affliction as a sign of some excellent grace with which God hath furnished 
such ; for God will not call out any of his to sufi'ering, but he will get him- 
self honour thereby. 

Use 2. In the second place, note this doctrine against the profane persons 
that timh at relif/ion, and make a mock at the dejected condition of those 
that are good, because they seem despised, afflicted, and forsaken. They, 
alas ! are ignorant of God's ways and works. It were much safer for them 
to consider their own ways, and to reason, if God deals thus with his dearest 
ones, with the ' green trees,' what shall become of those that are his 
enemies, that are ' dry trees ? ' If such troubles arise to the godly, even 
from God's love to them, what shall defend the wicked when the vials of 
God's wrath shall be poured down upon them, when they shall « call to the 
rocks and mountains to hide, cover, and defend them ?' Rev. vi. 16. If 
the ' righteous hardly be saved, where shall the ungodly appear ? ' 1 Peter 
iv. 18. And to conclude, know that the afflictions of the children of God 
are far better than the pleasures of sin. 

Doct. 2. In the second place, observe we, though Christians fall into 
depths, yet God upholds them that they sink not down into them ivithout 
recovery. Thus it was with our Head. Though he on the sudden appre- 
hended not the presence of God, so as he thought himself forsaken, yet 
he could even at the worst say, ' My God.' Thus also Jonah, ii. 4, ' I said 
I was cast out of thy sight ; yet will I look towards thy holy temple.' So 
Ps. xxxi. 22, and Ps. cxviii. 5 and 6 verses. 

rieason 1. For the Spirit of God is in them, and where it is, it is stronger 
than hell, yea though the grace be but as a grain of mustard seed. 

Eeason 2. Again, As there are depths of misery in a Christian, so m 
God there are depths of love and of wisdom. 

Beaton 3. Thirdly, F<*i(/j., where it is, unites the said to Christ, and to God 
through him, and draws down divine power— to lay hold on the almighty 
power of God by true and fervent prayer,— at whose rebuke the waters of 
affliction flee away, Ps. Ixxvii. 36; and so the stronger the faith is, the 
stronger is the delivery, for it is of a mighty power, enabling us to wrestle 
with God, as Jacob did. Thus when we lay hold on God, and God on us, 
what can drown us ? 

B^ason 4. Fourthly, It is the nature of God's ivorking to be by contraries: 
in his works of creation, making all things of nothing ; in his works of 
providence, he saves by little means from greatest dangers. That he might 
bring us to heaven, he suffers us to go down even into hell, to see our 
worst estate, to humble us ; and it may therefore be a cause why many 
men lie long in afflictions, even because they come not low enough to_ see 
their sins and need of help. In glorifying our mortal bodies, he first brings 
them to the grave, that they may rot and corrupt, and so be refined and 
moulded anew. 

Use 1. This should teach us a note of difference between those that are 

164 THE saint's comforts: 

God's children and those that are not. Those that are his, when they are 
in danger, go to him. They have ever that hold by faith, as to say, ' Yet 
God is good to Israel,' Jer. sxxi. 1. Others seek to escape by desperate 
undoing of themselves, as Saul, and Judas, and Ahithophel, for all his 
strong natural parts ; and indeed such are in most danger of such courses 
of all other ; for God will tread on such for their pride. Contrarily he 
mingles comforts, in the worst estate that his children are in, with griefs, 
one to humble them, the other to support them from despair ; and so he 
sets them on a rock that is higher than they. 

Use 2. Secondly, It should teach iis in all extremities how to carry ourselves. 
We should take heed of the stream of grief, striving against it, as we 
desire a note of our good estate ; take heed how we think that God forsakes 
us. It is an imputation unbefitting him that never forsakes his. Take 
heed of judging ourselves by sense. Is meat sour because one that is sick 
doth not relish it ? No. The fault is in his indisposition. So in such 
desertions, be sure thou retainest thy anchor of hope, though contrary to 
hope ; and therefore in the next place. 

Use 3. We should answer God's deallncj hy our dealiny. He works by 
contraries ; we should judge by contraries. Therefore, if we be in misery, 
hope and wait for glory, in death look for life, in sense of sin assure thy- 
self of pardon, for God's nature and promises are unchangeable ; and when 
God will forgive, he lets us see our troubles ; and therefore with resolute 
Job say, ' Though he kills me, I will yet trust in him,' Job xiii. 15. But 
to come particularly, I will set down cures of such depths as may arise from 
several causes ; and these depths are either imaginary or real. Christians 
sometimes think themselves to be in depths when indeed they are not, but 
it is only imaginary, raised it may be from a melancholy distemperature of 
the spirits, which also distempers the reasonable working of the mind ; 
raising as false and feigned conceits of their souls as it doth in many of 
their bodies ; and yet these conceits have real effects, as in Jacob, who 
sorrowed as truly for Joseph as if he were dead indeed. Therefore for the 
avoiding hereof be not alone ; a friend and good company are made for such 
times. For the devil sets on men in such case most when they are alone, 
and the strongest are then too vreak for him ; and believe not thine own 
fancy, but rather believe those that can discern us better than we ourselves 
can. We know how men have been deceived thus, and therefore when we 
are advised thus by friends, and counselled, let us suspect that it is a motion 
of the devil or a fancy of thine own that thus troubles thee. 

There is another depth that is imaginary, arising /ro?« mistahing of rules, 
concluding because they have not so much grace as others, have not so much 
subduing and prevailing power over sin, therefore they have no grace at all, 
they are damned hypocrites and the like. Little do they think that perfec- 
tion is not attainable here, but is reserved to the blessedness of that other 
life heieafter. Little do they look to the imperfections of the best saints of 
God, and the great depths that they have been in ; and indeed they know 
not what the covenant of grace requires, nor perfect fulfilling of the law by 
our own persons, for that was the end of the law. But the covenant of 
grace requires sincerity with growth ; and this is the only perfection which 
we can look for here. 

Another depth also there is, which ariseth from the taking of the motions 
of the devil for those of his oicn corrupt nature. The baseness and unrea- 
sonableness of them makes them think they cannot be God's children, and 
have such detestable motions within them. Let such know that such shall 



be cast 7ipon Satan s score. And it is a sign rather that such are none of 
the children of the devil, who, if they were, would suffer them to rest in 
quiet without vexing them. 

Again, some men fall into another depth, which ariseth from an apjn-e- 
hension of God forsakiufj them. To such I give this advice, that they jiuhie 
not of themselves by their distemper, for a sinful conscience puts a veil some- 
times between God and us, hiding his favour ; which nevertheless may be 
as great to us then as at any other time, and it may be intended by God 
to drive us to him by scourging us from our wicked ways and sins, which 
formerly we lived in. By faith therefore pull off the vizor from the face of 
God ; judge not according to present appearance, but by God's nature and 
his promises, who hath said he will be with us for ever, that no temptations 
shall be above measure, 1 Cor. x. 13 ; judge by his nature who is unchange- 
able ; and thus did the Canaanitish woman see Christ's loving nature under 
his frowning look, who doth as Joseph, hide his love and person from 
his brethren out of a increasement of love, not out of any ill intent. Again, 
in such a case let us be sure ive trust others that are our friends rather than 
ourselves. I mean in time of temptation, whenas others can better discern 
of our health by our spiritual pulses than we ourselves, who then are 
blinded ; and in such cases there is the trial of faith and love. 

There is another sort of depths, and these are before conversion ; and thus 
was Paul troubled, ' Lord, what shall I do ? ' and thus was Manasseh. Let 
such consider the commandment, to humble them and cast themselves on 
Christ and his promises, considering the end of Christ's coming was to save 
and seek such as are lost. 

Use 4. And if any one shall find himself already escaped such depths as 
are formerly mentioned, let him take comfort to himself, as being thereby 
evidently proved to be the child of God ; for that is utterly impossible, that 
nature should overcome such difficulties, and to that end let him reason 
after this sort, God's children go to him in depths. I go only to him m 
depths, therefore I am God's child ; for to have the spirit of prayer to go 
to God in time of trouble, it is a work of the Spirit ; a natural man hath 
it not, Job xxvii. 9, 10. 

Use 5. Hence therefore, in the next place, note a sure sign of the true 
religion, namehj, to he able to support men in danger and in spiritual troubles. 
This is verified in ours, as the subtile Jesuit will acknowledge, while they 
hold that reposing ourselves merely on mercy and favour in Christ, and not 
on man's good works, is the safest way. Why, therefore, they live by their 
uncomfortable rules ; and when they die, fly for succour to these, which m 
their Hfetime they despise.* 

Use 6. Moreover, let this be a ground to encourage us never to give over 
God's cause. He hath said he will not leave us though we be in depth of 
our sins, if we belong to him, and therefore much less will he leave us m 
that work which he himself sets us about. He was with Daniel among the 
lions, with Moses m the bulrushes, with the ' three children' m the fire, 
with his church through ' fire and water.' 

Use 7. Lastly, Let us therefore be sure to keep God our friend, that he 
may own us ; else when we cry he will not hear us, Prov. i. 28. Acquaint 
we ourselves with him, as it is in Job xxii. 21, in prosperity, and he will 
be our refuge, &c. , 

I)oct. 3. In the third place, observe we that afflictions stir up devotions : 
for prayers in time of afflictions are cries. Oratio sine mails est avis sine alis ; 
* Cf. note w, Vol. III. page 531.— G. 



for what allays worldly joy, and embitters it, but affliction ? Now we know 
that it is the worldly afflictions* that quenches our zeal and makes us cold. 
Affliction is a purgation opening the soul, causing it to rehsh and to affectf 
spiritually, and to see the wants and necessity of supply, and so procures 
longing and earnest hungering, Hosea v. 15. ' In their affliction they will 
seek me early,' and therefore, Ps. cvii, 6, it is said they cried to the Lord in 
their trouble. Now crying supposes want and sense of misery and ardency. 
Thus were Christ's cries called ' strong cries ;' and indeed weak afflictions 
many times makes men rather pettish and froward, as Jonah, than ardent in 
feeling rehef ; and therefore, 

Use 1. Let iis interjnet GocVs decdbigs vith a sanctified judgment. He ig 
a wise physician, and knows when strong or gentle physic is most requisite. 
Sometimes God by great afflictions doth manifest great graces, but so as 
notwithstanding they may be mingled with a deal of corruption ; and it 
is God's use that hereby his graces may be increased, and the corrup- 
tion allayed, to bring down the greatest cedars, and to eclipse the greatest 

Use 2. Secondly, Let ?« oppose desperations hy all means, hy prayer, by 
a-ying ; and if we cannot speak, by sighing ; if not so, yet by gesture, 
especially at the time of death, for God knows the heart. For then it 
stands upon eternal comfort. And therefore let us do anything to shew 
our faith fails not. We must know that every one shall meet with these 
enemies, that would cause us to despair if they could, for this life is a warring 
and striving life. We shall have enemies without and within us that will 
fight against us. 

Doct 4. In the next place, observe by the exam2')le of this holy man, that 
prayers are to be made only to God, who knows our wants, supports us and 
binds us up ; and it is only Christ that doth this. None can love us more 
than he that gave himself for us. He is our eye whereby we see, our 
mouth whereby we speak, our arms whereby we lay hold on God ; and 
therefore it is an intolerable unthankfulness to leave this ' fountain opened 
for sin and for uncleanness, and to dig to ourselves cisterns that will hold 
no water,' Jer. ii, 13; to leave Christ, and run to saints and angels, and the 
like, &c. 

Ver. 2. * Lord, hear my voice; let thine ears be attentive to the voice of 
my suppHcations.' 

Mark here his constancy and instancy in prayer by his ingemination ; % 
and this he doth not to work upon God, as if he were hard to be entreated 
to mercy, but to waken up his own heart, and to entreat of God a more 
inward and clear communion, communicating increase of grace ; so as God's 
children are not satisfied wich small portions of grace. And this did 
Daniel, Dan. ix. 18, 19. Lord, hear, forgive, hearken, do, defer not! 
His ardency shews into what an exigent he was brought ; and indeed the 
Lord regards lukewarm prayers no more than lukewarm persons, so as 
he will spue them out. Prayers must be like incense. It must be fired 
with zeal. 

Quest. But some will ask, How shall we come to make our prayers fervent ? 

Ans. I answer, consider of our wants, and our necessity of siqypJy, of our 
misery in our want,- of our hope to prevail by prayer ; and these will edge 
our affections in prayer. Consider also how these times, and the estate of 

* Qu. ' affections ' ?— Ed. % That is, ' repetition.'— G. 

t That is, ' choose.' — G. 


the church do sympathy with thy particular depths. The church abroad 
is in great depths ; and if we will have proof that we are fellow-members, 
that we_ are children of that mother, let us labour for a fellow-feeling of 
their miseries, and make them our own ; and to that end in our prayers 
allege the depths and pray, ' Help thou. Lord, for vain is man's help,' Ps. 
lx._ 11. For extremity itself is a good argument to a father to help his 
children. Allege also the insolency of the enemies. ' Why should the 
heathen say. Where is our God ?' Ps. Ixxix. 10. There is no church but 
useth more helps of humihation than we do, which foretells a great judg- 
ment; for God cannot endure this lukewarmness. Therefore call upon 
God with fervency, else will he cast us into such extremities as shall force 
fire into us. He that is poor doth naturally speak supplications. 

Direct. 2. Secondly, Look that we always be in such an estate as God may 
hear us. ^ If we be not within the covenant with God, our prayers shall 
turn to sin. 

Direct. 3. Thirdly, Take heed of wilful neglect of God's imrd. He that 
turneth his ears from hearing the law, his prayer shall be abominable, 
Prov. xxviii. 9. Some cry down preaching and cry up prayer, making opposi- 
tion between duties where none is. Dost thou think God will hear thee, 
and thou wilt not hear him ? Prov. i. 28. 

Direct. 4. Fourthly, Take heed of double dealing ivith God. This is 
hateful to God, and therefore David, till he dealt plainly with himself by 
condemning himself, his prayers were but roaring as a beast taken in a 
snare and [that] cannot get out, roars for pain and despite, Ps. xxxii. 3. 

Direct. 5. Take heed, in the next place, of allowance of any sin, though 
never so little ; and though it be only entertained in heart, "the Lord will not 
hear our prayers, Ps. Ixvi. 18. For shall we think that God cares for our 
prayers when we make covenant with his enemies ? 

Direct. 6. Take heed also of unmercifulness and cruelty. God would not 
hear the Israelites. Their hands were full of blood, Isa. i. 15. God will 
rather have no sacrifice than no charity. Let us take heed of these things, 
and let us come boldly to the throne of grace while he holds out his sceptre 
to us. 

But against this a man may object and say, that he is a wicked wretch, 
and his prayers shall but increase sin. 

To such I answer, let them offer their prayers in obedience to God's 
commandments, who commands them to pray, and he will respect the very 
' groans' of his Spirit within. Elias was a man subject to'the like infirmi- 
ties ; yet God heard his prayer, James v. 17. Where God's Spirit stirreth 
up, man's spirit is stirred up ; and where Christ joins to ofier the prayers to 
his Father as in his own name, why should we vilify that which God highly 
esteemeth ? Let God have his sacrifice. He knows how to accept of that 
which is good, and to pardon that which is amiss. He will second his 
beginnings, and will enlarge the heart more and more. Though in the 
beginning, prayer may be dull and untoward, it shall end in fulness, and 
therefore let these spiritual depths be so far off from hindering us from 
prayer, as that rather it should encourage us to pray. For it may be one 
end why the Lord suffers us to fall into depths, to the end that we may 
be stirred up to come to him ; that thus we may glorify him, and he glorify 
his mercy in hearing our prayers and granting our requests. For sure it 
is, he that hath not a heart to pray when he is in depths, shall never come 
out of them ; and let such as do come to him know, that however God is 
not present to sense, bat rather seemeth to hide himself, yet he is most 

168 THE saint's comforts: 

near to such as, with Mary, cannot see him for their tears and griefs, if with 
her in humihty they seek after him. 

Ver. 3. * If thou, Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who shall 
stand ? ' 

These words are a removal of hindrances of prayer, following God with 
an humble confession of that which is evil, which is ever Letter than a 
proud boasting of that which is good; and thus preventing* a secret 
objection, which God and a guilty conscience may make, that he was a 
guilty wretch. To which? he answers by way of confession, ' Truth, Lord ! 
yet if thou shouldst mark iniquities, none could abide it. Whence in general 
we may observe, 

Doct. 1. That sin hinders and discourages the soul from prayer ; for the 
conscience will object, and the soul will upbraid us, telling us we are sin- 
ners. God, he is holy, and how can we think he will hear us then, where 
there is no faith ? The soul must needs sink. This estate was David's, 
Ps. li. 14, 15, Sin and a guilty conscience had almost sealed up his lips ; 
and thus was the publican, who durst not lift up his eyes to heaven ; and 
thus will our estate be, especially if we yield to sins against conscience ; 
like Adam, we shall run from the presence of God to hide ourselves, though 
our former estate and conversation with God were never so inward and 
familiar. Therefore let us look to our souls as we desire to appear with 
comfort before the throne of grace, for consciousness of the remainder 
of sin hinders boldness in prayer in the best. 

Doct. 2. In the second place, the way to get out of misery is first to get 
discharged from sin ; for sin is the beginning and cause of all misery. There- 
fore the sons of Jacob, when they were handled roughly by Joseph, pre- 
sently the thought of selling Joseph into Egypt came into their minds, as 
the cause of all their trouble, though the fact was many years before ; and 
the widow, when her son died, presently called to mind her sin : ' thou 
man of God, why comest thou to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay 
my son?' 1 Kings xvii. 18. If therefore we will remove the misery, let us 
remove sin first. Thus David began with desiring pardon, Ps. cxliii. 2, 
then prayer for deliverance, for misery follows sin, even as the shadow doth 
follow the body. 

I)oct. 3. Thirdly, We may observe from the general, that the way to purge 
and take away sin is by confession ; thereby clearing God and laying load 
on ourselves. The way to cover our sin is to uncover it b}'^ confession. 
The way for God to spare us is, not to spare ourselves. And this God 
requires, not for himself, as if he were not able to be merciful but by this 
means, but to the end that ' we may glorify him,' as Joshua said to 
Achan, ' My son, give glory to God,' Josh. vii. 19. Secondly, God will 
have it a way to mercy, because he hath so decreed it ; and in the third place, 
that thereby tlcere may he ivrought in our souls a greater shame for sin. And 
this confession must be serious, thorough, humble, with grief, shame, and 
hatred. Every * Lord, have mercy,' is not enough, for many deceive them- 
selves this wayj misapplying the promises, that Christ will not ' break the 
bruised reed,' that he looks at the desire. Alas ! these belong to such as 
are not lazy, that are plain dealers with themselves, that will not spare 
themselves ; that by reading, hearing, meditation, conference, and all other 
duties, will not give over till they have found out the bottom of their ini- 
quity hidden in their heart. And let only such apply them, and not those 
to whom they do not belong. Thus much in general. Now, to come to 
* That is, ' anticipating.' — G. 


some particulars ; and first, let us observe out of this interrogation, having 
the force of a strong affirmation, 

Doct. 4. Tliat the best men in the estate of grace are sinners ; some may 
be sine crimine, but not sine peccato ; for in every man there are t\YO prin- 
ciples : one of good, another of evil, the old man and the new. In all 
there is a ' combat between flesh and spirit.' Christ is not a mediator for 
such as are already perfect ; for mediation needs not be, where all is friendly. 
And therefore there must be some enmity that must make God's children 
stand in need of the perpetual intercession of Christ, who is a high priest 
for ever. And the servants of God have acknowledged thus much, Ps. 
cxliii. 1, ' Answer me in thy righteousness,' not mine. I will not have a 
quarrel with thee ; thou art righteous, I am sinful. I may be just in mine 
own eyes, but in thy sight no man shall be justified. We acknowledge thus 
much in our daily prayers, while we still pray ' Forgive us our trespasses.' 
Though we profit every day never so much, yet, like leaking ships, we 
gather that which will drown our souls at length if we repent not ; for as it 
is Isa. Ixiv. 6, ' Our best performances are as filthy rags.' Isa. vi. 5, ' I 
am a man of polluted lips.' Dan. ix. 20, ' While I confessed my oion sins.' 
The papists themselves imply so' much, for else why teach they the doctrine 
of doubting ? If we be perfect, it is a sin to doubt of salvation, for thereby 
we deny God to be just. If they be perfect, what need they force the doc- 
trine of penance, or of going to saints to be their mediator ? And when 
they are upon the rack of conscience, the best of them will renounce then 
their dreams of perfection. From this observation, therefore, we learn, 
that no man can perfectly fulfil the law ; and secondly, that there can he 
no justification hy ivorks. Only, that that must make us just must be perfect. 
Our best works are imperfect. 

Doct. 5. In the next place, we may observe that community of offenders 
is no ground of lessening or diminishing of sin. A formal Christian, it is his 
trick to wrap himself up in general confessions. We are all sinners ; and 
if God should deal with us as we deserve, we were damned ; but come to 
reckon with him for his particular sins, then he is all in a chafe. He can- 
not be a saint, and the like speeches, tending to the defence of his course. 
The psalmist is not of this nature. He argues otherwise : neither Adam 
nor Abraham could stand, how much less shall I, poor worm ! David, he 
aggravates his sin while he tells us that he was conceived and born in sin. 
But men now-a-days, contrarily, ' You must bear with me ; it is my natural 
disposition; I cannot do otherwise.' Yet do I not deny but to the dejected 
sinner this may be used as a comfort ; for while they see the mass of cor- 
ruption within them, they presently conceive worse of their estate and 
condition, as if none were so ill, or in as ill a case as they. Such should 
be stayed by considering it is the general estate of all men, only the differ- 
ence is, some see their sins more than others do ; and thus Solomon useth 
it, 2 Chron. vi. 36, ' If any man sinneth against thee, as there is no man 
that sinneth not ; ' and God himself useth it as an argument to move him 
to mercy. ' The imaginations of man's heart are evil continually, there- 
fore my Spirit shall not always strive with flesh,' Gen. vi. 3. 

Doct. 6. In the next place, observe that God opens the heart and eyes of 
his children to see and feel ivhat sin is, and keeps their eyes open, and their 
consciences continually tender. The wicked are blind in most heinous 
crimes of all. David he complains of this, that his sin was ever before 
him, Ps. U. 3. And God threatens this, Ps. 1. 21, * I will set them before 
thee ; ' and the reasons hereof are, 

170 THE saint's comfoets: 

Reason 1. First, To malte our judgments conformable to his in hatred of sin; 
for we being his children, it is fit we should be of his image, and like to him. 

Beason 2. Secondly, To make us ai)2nehend mercy the more dearly, and 
thereby glorify him in it the more. 

Reason 3. Thirdly, Because he woidd have its beg of him to cover our sins 
from his eyes, that it may be covered from our eyes ; for the best cannot 
shake off the sense of sin, be it ever so burthensome. But God keeps it in 
our minds to humble us the more thoroughly. 

Reason 4. Again, God's children have a new life ichich is sensible of the 
least thing that is contrary to itself; and those that are in most perfect life 
are most perfect in the sense of sin, though never so small, though but 
motions. Where the sun shines most clear, then motes are most easily 
seen ; and therefore the best Christians do complain most of corruptions, 
for they see more than others do. Hence, therefore, we may know our 
estate, whether we are still-born or have life. If we have life, we have light, 
and can see and discern between good and evil. Some are still-born, yet 
think they live. Thus are many, thinking themselves unblameable in con- 
versation, yet in heart full of pride ; and like the Pharisees, count well of 
themselves, nothing knowing what belongs to the Christian warfare. Others 
are more bold, and their very lives bewray they think not of sin, but are 
bold in their courses, proud in speech and carriage, contemptuous of 
others and the means of salvation, contented with a little, and think any- 
thing enough. But the worst of all are those that think indeed of sin, but 
it is to defend it and maintain it by translation* and recrimination. They 
will be sure to repay double, to those that tell them of their courses in 
friendly manner. 

Quest. But how shall we come to be sensible of sin ? 

Direct. 1. First, Let us have the picture of the law in our hearts, seeing 
all ill and the degrees thereof; also learn us to desiref to avoid sin, so to 
endeavour to flee all occasions thereof, though never so small ; and to take 
up all occasions of doing good ; and doing good spiritually from judgment, 
affection, faith ; and consider the extent of the law, reaching to the least 

Direct. 2. Secondly, Bring ourselves continually into the presence of God. 
Human frailty appears in nothing more, than when it is brought to the light ; 
opposites being compared illustrate one another. Consider therefore in 
whose presence we are, what we are, what God is, what we have done, 
what he commandeth ; and then, with Job, we shall abhor ourselves in dust 
and ashes, though formerly we defended ourselves, Job xlii. 6. 

Direct. 3. And because God is invisible, bring ourselves to that ivhich is 
divine ; hear ive the word often unfolded, and we shall, with the unbeliever, 
1 Cor. xiv. 24, ' be convinced, and falling down shall confess God's power 
with it.' 

Direct. 4. Furthermore, Let us converse with those that are better than 
ourselves ; for the image and likeness of God is seen in his children. It is 
the custom of many men to converse with the worst company, that they 
may appear to be the best ; and thus do they increase an overweening self- 
conceit in themselves. 

Direct. 5. Let us also use to go to places visited uith God's corrections; 
for seeing misery, the conscience retires to itself, considering of the ways 
of sin, and how the devil pays those that serve him. And this use we 
ought to make of objects of misery, to see God's correcting hand, else do 

* That is, ' transference.' — G. f Qu. ' learn, as to desire . . . so '? &c. — Ed, 


we provoke God, Isa. i. 3-5, ' who curseth such ; ' Jer. v. 3, and brand- 
ing them with the brand of king Ahaz, ' this is Ahaz.' And while we 
dehght ourselves with pleasing worldly objects, our eyes shut against sin, 
but corrections and punishments makes them see and discern. All Christ's 
admonitions could not make Judas see his sin of covetousness, which the 
weight of a burdened conscience afterward so wrought, as could not be pacified. 
Let us look therefore on the afflictions of other men, of our own persons and 
estates, and know the least crosses comes not without a just cause. 

Direct. 6. Lastly, Let us j^ray to God to give us tender hearts ; not to 
deliver us up to a hard impenetrable heart, and to spiritual judgments, bat 
to keep us continually sensible of our sins and least infirmities. 

Boot. 7. In the next place, out of the manner of delivery of this speech, 
we may gather thus much, that sin once truly felt is ever unsiipportahle, none 
can stand under it. There are three impotencies in sinners : first, they 
cannot see sm : Ps. xix. 12, ' Wlio can understand his errors.' Secondly, 
when the Lord causes them to see their sins, they cannot justify themselves ; 
and then, m the third place, they cannot bear the burden of them ; for 
death, the wages thereof, none can bear or endure ; nay, God himself 
cannot endure sin, Amos ii. 13— nay, the wounded conscience, which is 
but a part of the wages thereof in this life, none can endure— but is 
' pressed under them as a cart loaden with sheaves.' Christ he could not 
endure them, but had such sense of them as if he had been quite forsaken : 
' My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? ' And angels could not 
bear the burden, but were thrown down to hell thereby, and so angels of 
light became angels of infernal darkness. Adam could not endure it, till 
Christ raised him up by the promise of the blessed seed ; and therefore 
much less can we since the fall, as it appears in Cain, Saul, Ahithophel, 
Judas. _ The earth could not bear Korah and his company, and neither 
would it bear us if we had our due. Sin is a debt we cannot answer : Job 
IX. 3, ' We cannot answA' one of a thousand.' 

Use 1. This therefore confutes the papists, who say that Christ hath 
endured the great p>unishments ; hut there are other lighter punishments, 
which tue also vnist xmdergo, as purgatory and the like ; to whom we say 
the wages of the least sin is death. That which the angels could not satisfy 
for, how shall we weak creatures. 

Use^. Secondly, This may put a just defence into the mouths of carefid 
Christians. Let others term them by what names of scorn they list, such 
have good ground for what they do. They know what sin is, and have 
felt the stmg thereof; and what they do, they do it in love to their souls. 
As for them that scorn, they know there is more cause to pity them than 
envy their estate. Though they can outswagger and outface sin now, 
which none could undergo heretofore, and though they can with a grace 
and authority, as they think, censure those that are careful, and themselves 
swear and profane the holy name of God, shewing thereby a heart full of 
unbehef andof unreverence,— which is more odious than the sin of swearing, 
— yet there is a time coming, when God will set their sins in order before 
them, m such manner that they shall melt away in the sense of the multi- 
tude and greatness of them, without hope of relief; when they shall see 
nothing but vengeance and death before their eyes, and without all manner 
of hope they shall die. 

Quest. But how comes it to pass, will some say, that many nevertheless 
seem to bear their sins well enough, and live and" die without tears ? 
Ans. I answer, The estate of such may be dangerous, for Christ is not 



sweet till sin be bitter. But God is infinite in wisdom, not presently bur- 
dening every sinner, nor comforting those that shall desire it. For then 
who would not be good, and who would be ill ? And if evermore comforts 
were present, what need were there of faith ? And therefore, this is most 
especially true at the day of judgment, when the wicked shall be blown 
away as chaff, Ps. i. 4-6 ; when there will be a guilty conscience, watch- 
ing devils, and an angry God. Where shall the wicked then appear? 
And there must be a hell hereafter, that men may then feel what now they 
will not beheve. 

Use of direction. Wherefore let us learn to submit ourselves to the correct- 
ing hand of God, saying, ' It is thy mercy we are not consumed,' Lam. 
iii. 22 ; considering that this light affliction is nothing to that we deserve, 
or that Christ suffered for us, or that the damned suffer in hell, or to that 
joy we have laid up for us in heaven ; and therefore as it is in Micah 
vii. 9, ' Let us bear the indignation of the Lord, because we have sinned 
against him.' 

Secondly, Let us justifj God. We have deserved affliction. He hath 
dealt justly with us: Neh. ix. 31, seq., ' Kighteousness belongeth to him, 
but to us shame and confusion of face,' Dan. ix. 7. 

Thirdly, Let its moderate our censure of those that are dejected and out 
of heart, through sense of sin : Prov. xviii. 19, * A wounded spirit, who can 
bear ? ' ^ Impute it not therefore to melancholy, or despair and madness, 
or as Eli unadvisedly did, to drunkenness, when he reprehended Hannah, 
1 Sam. i. 14 ; for can we think it strange, when God sees sin in his chil- 
dren, that he causes them to see it, and that when they see it they should 
shew it in their outward gestures ? No ; it is no light burden, that a man 
may run away with. 

Ver. 4. ' But there is forgiveness with thee.' 

This verse contains a blessed appeal. God hath a court of justice, and 
a tribunal of mercy. If God should examine in justice what we have done, 
we could not stand : * but there is mercy or forgiveness with the Lord,' 
Therefore it is an appeal from the throne of justice to the mercy-seat; and 
yet this is not so properly an appeal but it admits of limitations. For, 
first, appeals are used in aid of those that are innocent. Now we by nature 
are all unclean. Again , appeals are grounded for the most joart upon discovenj 
of insufficiency, or of violent indirect courses in the managing of the cause. 
This can no ways be attributed to God, who is not rigorous nor insufficient, 
or swa3^ed by indirect means ; for he accepts the person of none. Again, 
an appeal is from an inferior court to a higher. But here it is not so, for 
we appeal from God to God ; from God armed with justice, examining by 
law, to God a father armed with love, looking upon us in the comfortable 
promises of the gospel ; from Sinai to Sion, from Moses to Christ. And 
in this appeal, as in others, the former sentence of the law, whereby we are 
'cursed,' is utterly disannulled, so as 'no condemnation is to those that 
are in Christ,' Kom. viii. 1. But this belongs to such (as it is in other 
appeals) ivho must see themselves condemned, before they can have the benefit 
ot this appeal. Thex'e is no flying to mercy unless we find ourselves in 
need.^ But to come to some observations. In the first place, we may see 
by this example that the soul of a Christian apprehends God according to its 
estate, to comfort itself, and therefore beholds him as a forgiving God. 
And therefore the children of God, when they are at the lowest, they 
recover themselves with something they fiind in God's nature and promise, 


and to that end have a spirit of faith to trust and rely upon God ; and those 
that have it not, sink lower and lower. 

Doct. 1. Here we may observe, that the Christian soul, once stung ivith 
sin, flies to the free mercy of God for ease. Let a sinner be in Haman's 
estate, tell him of all pleasures, whatever they be, he cares not ; nothing 
but pardon delights his soul. David, a king, a prophet, a man after God's 
own heart. Acts xiii. 22, beloved of his people, wonderfully graced, yet 
being troubled with his sin, could not stand. He respects not his outward 
privileges, prerogatives, majesty, and the like. No ; he is the blessed 
man to whom God imputes no sin, Ps. xxxii. 1. And this is the reason 
why so much is attributed still to the blood of Christ, everyivhere, in the 
Scripture ; because the soul once pricked, finds no ease nor cure but in it 
principally, yet not excluding the other merits and obedience of Christ. 
And David, when he would raise up his soul to praise God, describes him 
to be a God ' forgiving sin and healing infirmities,' Ps. ciii. 3 ; and there- 
fore we should, when our consciences are burdened, go as Joab did and 
catch hold on the horns of the altar, to the mercy of God. There live 
and there die. And though the conflict be never so great, we shall at 
length find that, as Jacob, we shall be children of Israel, and such as shall 
prevail with God, and that for our depth of misery, he hath a depth also 
of mercy; and this mercy will appear either in preserving us from sin, 
before we are fallen into it, or rescuing us from it if once we be fallen 
into it. 

Quest. But how comes it, may some say, that God forgives ? Doth he 
it without satisfactions ? 

Ans. I answer. No. 

Quest. How then is it done, seeing he hath decreed that without blood 
shall be no remission ? Heb. ix. 22. 

Ans. I answer. This is done in Christ. 

Quest. But why is he not mentioned here, nor in the Old Testament 
neither ? 

Ans. I answer, He was laid down to us in the Old Testament, in types and 
promises ; for what other was the paschal lamb but * the Lamb of God 
taking away the sins of the world,' by sprinkling our hearts with his 
blood ? He was the priest that, before he could open an entrance into the 
holy of holies for us, must first shed blood and ofier sacrifice. What 
signified the ark with the law covered within it, the mercy-seat upon it, 
and over them two cherubins covering one another, but Christ our ark 
covering the curses of the law, in whom is the ground of all mercy ? 
' which things the angels desire to pry into,' 1 Pet. i. 12, as into the pat- 
tern of God's deep wisdom. And whenas any prayed in the temple they 
looked towards the mercy- seat, what meaneth it other than that, whenever 
we do pray to God, we should behold Christ, through whom God appears 
to be merciful and gracious ? What signified the temple, towards which 
they looked when they prayed, 2 Chron. vi. 38, Dan. vi. 10, but that we 
in our prayers should evermore have reference to our temple Christ Jesus ? 
And being thus assured, we may safely pass the flaming fire of God's jus- 
tice. If there were any other to be trusted besides Christ, there would be 
no peace of conscience. The sinner would argue, I am a creature, my sin 
is infinite ; no creature can satisfy, they are not infinite ; angels cannot 
stand ; it must be an infinite majesty that must satisfy, and it must be with 
blood. Now, Christ by his blood hath obtained eternal redemption for us, 
and therefore none but Christ, none but Christ ! He is God-man, making 

174 THE saint's comforts: 

God and man at one. It is his nature, and it is bis office. So as God is 
just as well as merciful ; for as it is Eom. iii. 24th and 25th verses, ' God 
the Father hath proposed or set forth Christ ' in types and figures * to be a 
propitiation,' alluding to the mercy-seat, * to declare his righteousness and 
justice, that he may be just in punishing sin,' that is in Christ; < and a 
justifier of the sinner that believes in Christ Jesus,' because he accepted of 
Christ's satisfaction, so as his mercy devised a remedy to satisfy his justice. 
Thus much in general ; now to come to particulars. First, take it exclusively, 
and we may observe, 

Doct. 1. That only God can release a guilty conscience ; only he can speak 
peace to a soul in distress. Ministers indeed have keys to open and shut 
heaven ; but they use them only ministerially, as they find persons dis- 
posed, but Christ independently. Now, then, whenas man assumes this 
prerogative to himself, as the popes were wont to do, giving indulgences, it 
is no other than to set them in the place of God. ' I, even I, forgive sin,' 
saith God, Jer. xxxi. 84. None can quiet the conscience but one that is 
above the conscience, which is God, who is only * the party offended ; 
though there be also an offence against men. Tlus oitr/Jd to comfort tis, 
that u-e have to do with a forgiving God, Neh. ix. 31. There is none like 
to him, to whom it is natural to remit and forgive sin. It is his name : 
Exod. xxxiv. 6, ' Forgiving iniquities, transgressions, and sins,' all manner 
of sins ; sins against knowledge and against conscience ; with him is 
plentiful forgiveness. 

Doct. 2. Secondly, Observe that as God only forgives sin, so he ever 
forgives sin. It is always his nature, as the fire always burns ; as he is 
Jehovah, he is merciful. John i. 29, Christ he is * the Lamb of God,' that 
doth take away the sins of the world. It is a perpetual act ; as we say the 
sun doth shine, the spring doth run. He is, Zeeh. xiii. 1, that 'fountain 
that is opened for sin and uncleanness.' Mercy is his nature, and forgive- 
ness is an effect of his mercy. 

Obj. Therefore it is no satisfying objection that the distressed soul will 
be ready to make, that God was merciful to David and Peter, but how can 
he be to me, miserable sinner ? For God, as he forgave Peter, Paul, David, 
so he forgives now. He is a fountain of mercy never drawn dry. He is 
unchangeable ; and therefore we are not consumed, Mai. iii. 6 ; and Christ 
is the same ' yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.' The consideration of 
this should be as a perpetual picture in our hearts. 

Doct. 3. Thirdly, Hence we may gather, that God's mercy is free, and 
from himself. Though in us is sin and iniquity, yet in thee is mei-cy ; and 
therefore God saith, I do not this for your sakes, but for mine own sake, 
Ezek. xxxvi. 22. Yet must not this be understood so as if it were freely 
and only from God the Father, excluding Christ. But therefore it is, in 
that we shall stand in need of no satisfiictory merits of our own. Away 
therefore with popish doctrines of satisfactions by our own works. The 
holy mon saith not, with thee is justice to take my works as satisfaction 
for my sin. No ; though this holy man were a gracious man, yet mercy is 
all his plea. And if the question be, how the sinner stands free from 
punishment and entitled to all good, it is from forgiveness, which is from 
God's mercy, grounded on Christ's satisfaction. All is laid upon him, Isa. 
liii. 5. He was woimded for our transgi'essions ; he bore our sorrows; he 
was made sin for us, that knew no sin, 2 Cor. v. 21. The nature of man 
will hardly stoop to this divine truth. But the Spirit teacheth us to rely 
* That is, ' alone is.'— G. 


on the free forgiveness of God in Christ ; and therefore Christ and his 
apostles bid such ' beUeve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be 
saved.' , We may think this an easy lesson. But hereafter, when God 
shall open our sins and lay them upon our consciences, they will then tell 
us fearful things. There is no hope ! thou must be damned ! Against 
such times lay up grounds of comfort ; and let this text be a haven to 
resort to. It is true, ' if thou markest what is done amiss, who can stand ? 
but there is mercy with thee that thou be feared.' 

Doct. 4. Fourthly, We may from hence observe, that the best Christian 
and most gracious man alive needs forr/iveuess of his sins; for where the con- 
science is enlightened it will discover what corruption it finds, and so the 
necessity of being delivered. So 1 John ii. 1, ' If any man sin, we have 
an advocate ; ' that is, such as I am, have need of an advocate ; and one 
reason may be, because indeed such see in their sins much more ingratitude 
than others, for they sin against the knowledge of God's love to their souls 
in forgiving former sins ; and then to fall into sin again, it is as broken 
bones, Ps. li. 8. And the apostle, 2 Cor. v. 20, speaking to the believing 
Corinthians, ' I beseech you to be reconciled to God ; ' for Christ was made 
sin for us ; for you, and for me. Even we sin daily, and stand in need of 
reconciliation. We must daily pray, ' Forgive us our sins,' yea, the best of 
the disciples must do it. If we come not with this petition, ' our sins are 
written with a pen of iron, and with the claw of an adamant,' Job xix. 24.* 

Doct. 5. Fifthly, This mercy and forgiveness is general to all that cast them- 
selves on his free mercy. It is Satan's subtilty to persuade us at the first, 
that sin is nothing ; but when it is committed and cannot be recalled, then 
he tells us it is greater than can be pardoned. No. The gospel is the 
power of God to salvation to all that do believe. Let none despair. It is 
a greater sin than the former. Deus non est desperantium pater, sed judex. 
God's pardon is general, to all persons, that repent of all sin, whereby he 
frees them from all evil. He pardons all persons : Manasses the sorcerer, 
Cornelius, Zaccheus, persecuting Paul. The parable of the lost sheep, the 
lost groat, the prodigal son, testifies it. God offers it freely, ' Why will 
you die, house of Israel' ? Jer. xxvii. 13. He complains when it is 
neglected : ' Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how oft would I have gathered you 
together' ! Mat. xxiii. 37. ' He threatens' because men will not hear, and 
' he pardons all sins.' There is no disease above the skill of this Physician. 
He healeth all thy sins and all thy infirmities, Ps. ciii. 1-3. Yea, if it 
were possible that the sinner against the Holy Ghost could repent, there 
were hope in Israel concerning this ! He hath pardon for sin long lived 
in. * At what time soever a sinner repenteth, he will blot out his wicked- 
ness,' 2 Chron. xx. 9. What though they be never so enormous ? God's 
thoughts are not as ours, Isa. Iv. 8. Conscience may be overcharged with 
sin. We may play the harlot with many lovers ; yet return to me, saith 
the Lord, Jer. iii. 1. He that bids Peter forgive seventy-seven times, f 
shall not he have plenteous redemption ? What proportion is there be- 
tween the sin of a creature, and the mercy of an infinite Majesty ? He frees 
from all ill, from all punishment. His forgiveness is perfect. Though we 
be as red as crimson with sin, he will make us white as snow, Isa. i. 18. 
He removes our sins from his presence as * far as the east is from the 
west,' Ps. ciii. 12. 

Quest. But some will say, Why corrects he then his children ? 

* Cf. A. B. Davidson's ' Commentary' in loc, and also Caryl. — G. 

t Kather seventy seven-times ; that is, seventy times seven times. — G. 

176 THE saint's cojifokts: 

Ans. I answer, not from revenging justice, for he is our Father ; and 
what he does, it comes from love, and is mingled with love and moderated 
with love to our strength, and are turned by love to our good. When he 
follows us with prosperity, he is our alluring Father ; and when he corrects 
us, he is our correcting, not punishing. Father, Heb. xii. from 3d to the 
12th. Yet let not this be sinisterly taken. It is spoken only to the humble 
heart, that is broken with sin, which is the sixth general observation ; there 
vnist he first sight of sin, then sense of miserij, then confession of sin and 
begging pardon, or else none is granted. For God bestows pardon so as 
may be most for his glory and our comfort. What glory can he reap by 
pardoning those that will sin, ' because grace may abound,' Eom. vi. 1, and 
so ' will turn the grace of God into wantonness ' ? Jude 4. And what comfort 
can we have of the pardon of our sins till we see our sins, and feel what it is 
to want pardon ? Sight of sin and mercy are inseparable. Sometimes the 
sense of pardon is delayed, to make us hunger after it ; sometimes it follows 
suddenly after sight of sin, as it did to Matthew and Zaccheus, Mat. xi. 28. 
But one must go before the other : first, must the wind of the sight of God's 
anger come breaking and rending the rocky hard hearts that are within us ; 
then comes the soft still voice speaking peace to the humble soul. The 
reasons may be, first, to set an edge on our j^raijers for forgiveness, else who 
would care for it. Secondly, to make ns highly to esteem forgiveness of sin. 
The promises are sweet to the dejected soul, as a pardon is to the con- 
demned person. Thirdly, tliat God might have the more glory and thanks. 
When we find the bitterness of sin, as it is Jer. ii. 19, to be sweetened by 
God's mercy, then ' My soul, praise thou the Lord ; and all that is within 
me, praise his holy name.' He forgives all my sin, and heals all my 
infirmities, Ps. ciii. 1, 2, 3. And, lastly, because our sins nnrepented keep 
good from ns, and us from the fountain of all good, and must be removed before 
there can be any way for mercy. 

This therefore justifies those ministers that in these days of the gospel 
do enforce the law ; and people must not be ofl'ended thereat, but suffer 
their consciences to be laid open, that the word may come close and home 
to them ; and secondly, they must use the means, to come to a sense and 
feeling of their sin. To which end let »s make sin as odious and dangerous 
in our eyes as ire can. It is odious to God. To us it is poison and leprosy 
though we cherish it, and hate ministers and friends for touching it. It is 
abomination to God. It thrusts him out of our hearts, and puts in the 
devil, God's arch enemy. It causes us to prefer base pleasure, fading pro- 
fits, before the favour and mercy and love of God. Must not this needs be 
hateful to God ? But then how much more intolerable are those sins that 
bring neither profit nor pleasure, but causes us to thrust out God, even 
because we will ? But this is not all, for as it is abominable to God, so it 
is dangerotis to us ; for whence comes judgments ? Whence is it that the 
wrath of God is revealed from heaven ? Kom. i. 18. Whence is sickness, 
disgrace, troubles ? All these are the fruits of sin. Nothing makes us 
miserable but sin. Take a man when he lies a-dying. Ask him what 
troubles him ? Oh ! he cries out of sin, of the wrath of God. He feels 
not sickness, even as the gout is not felt by one that hath a fit of the stone 
upon him. Let us think of this in time ; let us shame the devil, shame 
ourselves. But is this all ? No. Judas saw his sin and confessed, yet 
was he never the better. He wanted that which should make his repent- 
ance perfect. He wanted faith to lay hold on pardon. A poor man is fit 
for treasure, but unless he lay hold on treasure, he shall never be rich. 



Therefore faith and repentance are ever joined in the gospel. Eepent and 
beheve the gospel, as was said to the jailor. So Christ saith, ' Come to me,' 
Mat. xi. 28. Christ came to satisfy for all sin, to cure all diseases, but 
they must first come to him, and say, ' Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make 
me clean,' Mat. viii. 2 ; and to such as these I may say, as they said to 
the blind man, ' Be of comfort, for Christ calls thee,' Mark x. 49. 

' That thou mayest be feared.' 

Fear in this place is taken for the spiritual worship of God, arising from 
a reverential fear mingled with love. ' Fear God and keep his command- 
ments,' Eccles. xii. 13, is the whole duty of man. So that these words 
being considered with the former, brings this observation to our con- 

Doct. That GocVs goodness, forgiveness, grace, and mercy, is a means to 
stir 7ip Jiis children to all duties ; and therefore we are commanded to do all 
things in fear : to ' work out our salvation with fear,' Philip, ii. 12, eat and 
drink with fear ; and in Jude 12, the wicked are branded with this, ' that 
they eat without fear.' So as whatever we do, we must do it in fear, shew- 
ing the reverence of God continually, and jealousy over ourselves, lest we 
should stop the light of God's countenance from us. 

Quest. But it will be said, How is it then said ' that we should serve him 
without fear,' 1 Cor. xvi. 10, being redeemed from our enemies? 

Ans. I answer. There is a twofold fear : one a slavish fear, whereof that 
place is meant. AVe should serve him without fear of damnation, of punish- 
ment, and of judgment. But the fear that we speak of here is a fear of 
reverence and love, that stirs us up to worship him. 

Quest. But how doth it stir to duty ? may some say. 

Ans. I answer, first, it stirs up faith in our hearts. Hope of forgiveness 
will cause us to cast ourselves into their arms whom we have offended. 
Where no hope of mercy is, there follows nothing but fear, causing us to 
fly away ; even as we see proclamation of pardon to rebels causes them to 
come in, but the contrary makes them run away. Again, sense of forgive- 
ness works more love. David's murder, Paul's persecution, Peter's denial, 
caused abundance of love. Where many sins are forgiven, there will be 
much love, Luke vii. 47 ; and where much love is, there will be obedience 
to all God's commandments, for ' love is the fulfilling of the law,' Eom. 
xiii. 10. Contrarily, desperation is the ground of all sin. This is the 
gi'ound of all hate. The devils they hate God. Because they know there 
is no remedy left for them, therefore they cannot endure the remembrance 
of him. Contrariwise, as it is Ps. Ixv. 2, ' Unto thee shall all flesh come.' 
Why '? ' For thou hearest prayer.' Again, fear and forgiveness are joined 
in the new covenant. ' I will put my fear in thy heart, and thou shaltnot 
depart from me,' Jer. xxxii. 40 ; and Christ, to all his, is both king, priest, 
and prophet. He comes to all by water as well as blood. He is becoaie 
righteousness, wisdom, and holiness, 1 Cor. i. 30. Again, a Christian he 
will, hg reason, enforce this on himself, as Paul did, 2 Cor. v. 15. Christ 
died for us ; therefore must we live to him, and not to ourselves. 

Use 1. This therefore should cause us to take heed of all thoxights of 
despair. Let it be enough that we have broken the law ; let us not pull a 
greater sin on us by denying the gospel, the mercies and truths of God. 
Let us by any means take heed, for Satan will join with guilty consciences, 
speaking with cursed Cain, ' My sin is greater than can be pardoned,' Gen. 
iv. 13. No article of our creed is so much opposed by him, as that of the 
forgiveness of sin by Christ's merits, which is the very hfe and soul of a 

VOL. VI. ^ 

178 THE saint's comforts: 

churcli. All the former articles of the creed are perfected in this, and all 
the following articles are eflects hereof. 

Use 2. Secondly, This doctrine furnishes an answer to the 2'>(tpists, who 
lay scandals * on the doctrine of free justification by the merits of Christ, 
without our own works ; saying that we nourish thereby carelessness in a 
Christian life, whenas the Scripture, and the Spirit of God in the hearts of 
those that are truly regenerate, do reason quite contrary. ' There is mercy 
with thee, that thou mayest be feared ;' not that we may live as we list, 
for whom God forgives, he first truly humbles ; whom he washes, he gives 
hearts to keep themselves clean ; so as with the burnt child, they dread 
the fire ever after. No ; it is themselves that overthrow good works, while 
they ground them on false grounds. For either they do them to satisfy 
God's wrath, which is slavish, or to merit by them, which is a token of a 
hireling ; and most of their works are such, as if God should ask them, 
' Who required them at their hands ?' Isa. i. 12, they could never be able 
to answer. They, while they talk of good works, in the mean time over- 
throw faith and love, which should be the ground of a good work. What 
can they do more than a Cain or a Judas, or the wickedest man alive. 

Secondly, We may hence gather a ground of discerning our estate, whereby 
we shall know whether God's mercy and forgiveness belong to us or not ; 
for it is impossible, where there is no inward worship of God in the heart, 
where there is no fear and jealous}' of sin, where there is no con- 
science of swearing, blaspheming, and such abominations, that ever such 
yet had any true taste of God's mercy and forgiveness. Let them not take 
comfort by the example of the thief on the cross, that cried for mercy and 
had it ; for there is a time of grace, and there are some sinners, as those 
that flatter themselves in a course of sin, thinking to repent when they will, 
against which the wrath of God will smoke, Deut. xxix. 20. Therefore let 
not such soothe up themselves. Those that have their sins forgiven do 
fear God, Such fear not God, and therefore their sins are not forgiven. 
Many shall say in that day, * Lord, Lord,' to whom Christ will profess, ' he 
never knew them,' Mat. vii. 23 ; and therefore let us never assure our- 
selves of forgiveness, farther than we find in us a hatred of sin. For a man 
to live in a course of known sin, it stops the current of God's mercy ; who 
will wound the ' hairy scalp of such as despise the patience and long-suffer- 
ing of God,' Rom. ii. 4. While we have time, therefore, and are young, 
before lusts settle themselves in us, serve the Lord with fear ; deny him 
not the service due to him. If we do, it is just with God to take us away 
suddenly, or to deliver us over to an impenetrable hard heart ; and when we 
die, that God should take away from us our senses, or to give over our 
consciences to such a horror and trembling fear, as shall not suffer us to 
come so near as to have any hope of mercy, but die in despair. Let us 
pray, therefore, against a careless heart, and say to him. Lord, thou earnest 
to redeem and set me free from the works of the devil ! Lord, deliver me 
from the power of sin and of my own corruption. For we may assure our- 
selves, he that never discerned this hatred of sin in him, never asked par- 
don from his heart ; and he that never asks it shall never have it. 

Use. Let us in the next place learn thereby to go the right way, to work 
assurance of forgiveness: first, learn to see our misery; then, get ])ersuasion 
that there is a remedy ; then, get knowledge thereof ; and then heg it. It is a 
preposterous course that many men take. They will change their ill courses, 
but without confession or acknowledgment of sin ; and therefore they turn 
* That is, ' take offence at.' — G. 


indeed, but it is from one sin to another : from being dissolute they will 
become covetous, and so change to the worse ; for they change not from 
right grounds ; not from love to God and hatred of sin, but ever from the 
love of one reigning sin to another. For all such, and all other, that 
either find* their sin, or think not of it, this Scripture is of excellent use ; 
and we may speak of it as St Paul, 2 Tim. iii. 16, speaks of all the Scrip- 
ture, * It is profitable for doctrine,' teaching us what we are by nature since 
the fall ; wherein we may have remedy of our misery ; how and in what 
manner to attain the remedy. It is profitable for ' reproof of the doctrine 
of justification by works ; and it is profitable for ' correction' of our lives, 
teaching us to avoid despair, and yet withal to avoid security. It is pro- 
fitable for ' comfort' to all those that are dejected by sin, by considering 
the mercy of God in Christ, which is more and greater than sin in us, if 
we have faith to lay hold on it ; so that we may say with St Augustine, 
Ego admisi, nude tn damnare potes we, sed non aniisisti unde tu salvare 
■poles me. 

Ver. 5. * I wait for the Lord, yea, my soul waiteth. 

These words do shew the estate and disposition of the holy man after his 
prayer. Though he had formerly sense of mercy and pardon, yet he waits 
for more full and sweet apprehension thereof. In them we may observe, 
first, though God he exceeding gracious, yet there is viatter of imiting, so 
long as we live here on earth, for he gives not all the fulness of his blessing 
at once. Though he may give taste of pardon of sin in present, yet not 
presently deliverance out of danger. ' The light of the righteous shineth 
more and more unto the perfect day,' Prov. iv. 18. There is no day that 
is perfected in an instant ; and the reasons hereof may be, 

Reason 1. First, To force us to search our souls, whether we be fit for 
blessing; whether we be thoroughly humbled, and have thoroughly 
repented or not. Thus dealt he with Jonas, and thus with the children of 
Israel for Achan's cause. 

Reason 2. Secondly, It may be a means to stir 7<s up to more earnestness 
in seeking : to make us like the woman of Canaan, more earnest the more 
she was repelled. 

Reason 3. Thirdly, He gives us occasion of waiting, to shew the truth and 
soundness of his graces in its ; otherwise should we have no means to try 
how the grace in us would serve us in time of need. 

Reason 4. Fourthly, Hereby God doth endear those favours that xoe tvant, 
that it may come the more toelcome to us, and we he the more thankful for it. 
Thus God dealt with this holy man ; and thus doth he with his church. 
For while we live here we are always children of hope ; not miserable, 
because we have a sweet taste of what we hope for, and not perfectly happy, 
because we want fulness. Before Christ they hoped for his coming in the 
flesh ; since Christ, we look for his ' second coming in glory ;' in grace we 
look for glory ; and when our souls are in glory, they look for the redemp- 
tion of the bodies, and for the day of restoring of all things. ' How long, 
Lord, how long ?' Eev, vi. 10. Else would this life be heaven to us ; and 
we should not desire or pray, ' Lord, let thy kingdom come.* 

Use. And for use, This shoidd lohet in us our desires and prayers for ovr 
heavenly estate ; and not make our heaven here on earth, but deaire ear- 
nestly the full harvest, by considering how excellent the first-fruits of glory 
in this life are ; and with the creature, Eom. viii. 19, ' wait, and expect, 

* Qu. 'hide'?— Ed. 

180 THE saint's comforts. 

and long, and groan for the time of the dissokition of all things ;' and 
make this a note to discern of our estate ; for it is a certain infallible token 
of a good frame of spirit in us, if we can long for that better life in the 
fulness, that we have here ; that we can desire to be with Christ. Furj^her- 
more, note this as a difference hetweeii the estates of the wiched and the godly. 
The wicked must look for worse and worse continually. His best is here, 
and while he hath this world ; but the godly, their worst is here, their best 
is to come. 




' The Churcli's Complaint ' forms a portion of ' The Beams of Divine Liglit ' 
(4to, 1639). Its separate title-page will be found below.* For general title-page, 
see Vol. V. page 220. G. 

* T H E 

C H V R C H E S 

Complaint and 


In three Sermons, 

By the late Reverend and I^earned 

Divine KichardSibs, 

Doctor in Divinity, IMaster of Katherine Hall in 

Camhridije, and sometimes Preacher at 


Lam. 1. 20. 

Behold Lord for I am in distresse, my bowells are troubled, 
mine heart is turned icithin me, for I have grievoiisli/ 
rebelled, abroad the sivord bercaveth, at hovie there is 
as death. 

Printed by G. 31. for Mcholas Bourne and Eaj'ha Harford, 1639. 


But ws are all as an unclean thing, and all our rigJiteousness are as filthy 
rags ; and we all do fade as a leaf ; and our iniquities, like the iuind, 
have taken us aioay. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that 
stirreth up himself to take hold of thee : for thou hast hid thy face from 
MS, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. But noiu, Lord, 
thou art our Father : ive are the clay, and thou our potter ; and me are 
all the work of thine hands. — Isaiah LXIV. G-8. 

The words are part of a blessed form of prayer prescribed to the churcli 
long before they were in captivity. It begins at the 15th verse of the 
former chapter, ' Look down from heaven ; behold from the habitation of 
thy holiness,' &c. The blessed prophet Isaiah was carried with the wings 
of prophetical spirit over many years, and sees the time to come, the time 
of the captivity ; and God by his Spirit doth direct them a prayer, and 
this is part of the form. For God in mercy to his people, as he foresaw 
before what would become of them, so he vouchsafes them comfort before- 
hand, and likewise he prescribes a form of prayer beforehand. It is very 
useful to use forms. The 102d Psalm, it is a form of pouring out the soul 
to God when any man is in misery, as ,you see in the preface. But that 
by the way. These verses are a part of a form prescribed for the pouring 
forth an afflicted soul ; ' We are all as an unclean thing, and all our right- 
eousness,' &c. The words they are. 

First, An humble confession of sin. 

And first, of the sins of their nature, of their persons themselves, ' We 
are all as an unclean thing.' 

And then, of the sins of actions : ' all our righteousness is as filthy rags.' 

And then, in the third place, a confession of the sin of non-proficiency, 
of obduration, and senselessness, that notwithstanding the corrections of 
God, they were little the better : ' There is none that calleth upon thy 
name, or that stirs up himself to take hold of thee.' 

In the second place, there is an humble complaint of the miserable 
estate they were in by their sins : ' We all fade as a leaf ; our iniquities, 
like the wind, have taken us away : thou hast hid thy face from us, and 
consumed us, because of our iniquities.' The complaint is set forth in 
these four clauses. 

184 THE church's complaint and confidence. 

And then an humble supplication and deprecation to God, in ver. 8, and 
so forward. ' Now, Lord, thou art our Father : we are the clay, thou art 
the potter; we are all the work of thy hands,' &c. These be the parcels 
of this portion of Scripture. 

' But we are all as an unclean thing,' &c. 

Here is, first, an huuihle confession. And first, observe in general what 
afilictions will do, especially afflictions sanctified. That which all the 
prophetical sermons could not do, that which all the threatenings could not 
do, affliction now doth. Now when they were in captivity and base estate, 
they fall a humbling themselves. So the prodigal, nothing could humble 
him but afflictions. ' By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept,' 
Ps. cxxxvii. 1. All the denunciations of judgments before they came to 
the waters of Babylon could not make them weep. One affliction will do 
more than twenty sermons. When God teacheth and chastiseth too, when 
together with teaching there is correction, then it is eff'ectual. And this is 
the reason of God's course ; why, when nothing else will do, he humbles 
his people with afilictions, because he cannot otherwise teach them. 

Affliction withdraws that which is the fuel of sin ; for what doth our 
sinful disposition feed on ? Upon pleasures, and vanities, upon the 
honours of this life, and riches, &c. Now when affliction either takes these 
things away, or embitters them if we have them, then that which sin carried 
us to, and that we fed our own base earthly lusts with, being gone, when 
a man is stripped of these, he begins to know himself what he is, he was 
drunk before. I deem a man in prosperity little better than drunk. He 
knows neither God, nor himself, nor the world. He knows it not to be as 
a vain world. He knows not himself to be vanity, to be an empty creature, 
except he consist* in God, and make his peace with him. He knows not 
God to be such a holy God, and such an angry God for sin. But when 
affliction comes, and withdraws and strips him of those things that made 
him fierce against God, then he begins to know God, and to tremble at the 
judgments of God when he begins to smart. He begins to know himself 
to be a madman, and a fool, and a sot. He did not know himself before 
in his jollity. And then he knows the world indeed as a vain world. 
Blessed be that affliction that makes us know a gracious and good God, and 
the creature to be a vain creature, and ourselves out of the favour of God 
to be nothing. You see what afflictions will do. 

God doth use to break men, as men use to break horses. They ride 
them over hedge and ditch, and over ploughed lands, uneven grounds, and 
gall them with the spur and with the bit, and all to make them tractable ; 
and then afterward they ride them gently and meekl}^ and rather so than 
otherwise. So God is fain to carry his children over ploughed lands ; he 
is fain to break them in their wickedness, to bring their ways upon their 
heads ; he is fain to gall them, and humble them every kind of way, that 
they may carry him, that he ma}'- bring their spirits under him, that he 
may lead them in the ways that lead to their own comfort. 

Use. Let us never murmur, therefore, at God's hand, but willingly yield 
at the first. What doth a stubborn horse get, but the spur and stripes ? 
And what doth a man get, that stands out when God comes to humble him 
by affliction, and intends his good ? Nothing but more stripes. To come 
to the parts. 

' We are all as an unclean thing,' &c. 

« That is, = stand.— G. 


Here, first, you see there is an humble confession. I will not enlarge 
myself in the point of humiliation, but speak a little, because this is the day 
of humiliation : the occasion is for humiliation. All this is to bring us low, 
to humble us, to make us know ourselves. Without humiliation, Christ 
will never be sweet unto us, and the benefit of health, &c., will never be 
precious to us. I mean by humiliation, when God humbles us, and we 
humble ourselves ; when we join with God. When God's humbling of us 
and our humbling of ourselves go together, then mercy is sweet, and favour 
and protection is sweet, when God pours his judgments on others, and 
spares us. 

Now humiliation, it is either real (or inward), or verbal. 

Real humiliation indeed, that is, our humbling ourselves by fasting, 
especially when it is joined with reformation of our wicked ways, or else it 
is a mockery of God, as it is in Isa. Iviii., ' to hang down the head for a 
while,' and in the mean time to have a hard heart, to shut up our bowels to 
our brethren ; but that is a real kind of humiliation, when we think our- 
selves unworthy of the creatures, of meat or drink, of any refreshing, for 
this humihation of fasting is a kind of profession, though we speak not so, 
that we are unworthy of these things. But all is nothing, without inward 
humiliation of the soul. Verbal humiliation is in words, as we shall see 
after in confession ; and it must come from inward humiliation of spirit. 

Use. Therefore, considering it is here the first disposition of God's people, 
let us labour to work upon ourselves those considerations that may make 
us humble. I will name a few. 

1. First, To bring ourselves to the glass of the law. Examine ourselves 
how short we have been of every commandment. 

2. But especially bring ourselves to the gospel. We hope to be saved by 
Christ ; and have we mourned for our sins ' as one mourneth for his first- 
born ' ? Zech. xii. 10. Our sins have wounded Christ. Have we preferred 
Christ, in our thoughts, above all the things in the world ? Have they all 
been dung to us ? Have we had that blessed esteem of the gracious pro- 
mises of the gospel, and the prerogatives therein set forth, that they have 
been so precious to us, that we have undervalued all to them, as St Paul 
did ? A base esteem of the gospel is a great sin : ' How shall we escape, 
if we neglect so great salvation ?' Heb. ii. 3. Put case we be not enemies 
to the ministry and to hoUness of life, expressed in the gospel, as many 
cursed creatures are ; yet a base esteem and undervaluing in our thoughts 
is a thing punishable. ' How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salva- 
tion ? ' Have we walked worthy of the dignity we are called to by the 
gospel ? Have we carried ourselves so in spiritual things, as to rule our 
base lusts ? Have we been careful of private prayer, to ofier ourselves to 
God as priests ? Are we not pressed in St Paul's epistles, ' to carry our- 
selves worthy of our profession ?' Eph. iv. 1 ; and have we done so ? Let 
us bring our carriage, and see how proportionable it is to God's advancing 
of us in these glorious times of the gospel, and this will bring us on our 

We are ashamed of a little unkindness to men. But when we consider 
how unkind we have been to God, that thought not his dear Son, and heaven 
and happiness, too much for us ; besides other favours, that he protects, 
and clothes, and feeds us every day, and yet we have not been answerable : 
these considerations would humble us, proportionable to our carriage to 
men. Can we be ashamed to offer an unkindness to men, and are 
we not ashamed, cannot we be abashed with this, that we have carried 



ourselves so towards God ? It comes from atheism and infidelity of heart, 
that either we believe not these things to be good, or else that we have not 
our part and portion in them. Could we ever be so dead and dull-hearted 

3. Again, That we may be humbled, let us call to mind, now in this day 
of humiliation, our special sins. We may soon know them. Our consciences 
and our enemies will upbraid us for them, and we are loath to hear of them 
above all, either by the ministry or by our friends. We wish, above all, 
that the preacher would not speak of them, and fret if he do ; and our hearts 
run upon them above all. So let us search our false hearts, which way 
they run ; and now, in the day of our abasement, let us think what would 
lie heaviest on our conscience, if God should take us now with sickness or 
sudden death. Let us think with ourselves, What is the sin that would 
afflict me most ? that would stagger me most ? that would shake my faith 
most ? whether it be filthiness, or profaneness, or swearing, or injustice ; 
and whether have I made satisfaction or no ? Let me examine, if God 
should strike me with his arrow now, what sin would rob me of my com- 
fort, and make me afraid to yield my soul to God ? Now think of it. This 
is the way to be humbled. You may now bring yourselves to consider of 
that that at other times you will not give yourselves leisure to do. W^hat 
are days of fasting for, but to give ourselves leisure, that we may not think 
of meat, and drink, and business ? These days should be days of rest, that 
we may think of that which concerns our souls. Take the advantage when 
thou restest from thinking of other business. Think with thine own 
soul, what will lie heaviest upon thy soul. This is required to humiliation. 
This real humiliation that is outward, it is a protestation of the inward ; 
and verbal humiliation is but an expression of what we do inwardly. 

There are two things wondrous necessary, before the soul can be in the 
right frame it should be in. 

First, The soul must apprehend deeply what distance it hath from God, 
what alienates it from God, before it can be wise ; and it must be estranged 
from that before ever it can come to couple and join with God. When the 
soul apprehends what separates it from God, and conceives as it should do 
of that, then it will be the readier to apprehend God ; and then all duties 
will come off easily. Therefore let us iirst of all work upon our own souls 
to be humbled, and by all the helps that can bo. 

4. And to help it, consider now at this time hoio uncertain our life is. 
We know not who may be stricken next. And consider what the dangerous 
issue is, if we humble not ourselves here before God humble us in our 
graves. Let us help humiliation by all that may be ; for where this is, 
all will follow easily. A man will go out of himself to God when he is 
abased in himself, and sees no comfort in heaven or earth but in God ; 
that there is nothing to be stuck to in the world, but all is vanity, and he 
may be stripped of life and of all these comforts ere long. When a man 
is abased, faith and obedience will come off easily. What is the reason 
that Christ is not relished more, and that many fall off? They were never 
deeply humbled. According to the depth of humiliation is the growth of 
holmess of life and the height of faith. All graces rise higher as the soul 
is more deeply humbled. The more we descend deeply in digging and 
rending up our hearts, the more the word of God sinks into the ' good 
ground' that suffers the plough to rend it up and to cut off the weeds. 
The more deeply we are humbled, the more the fruits of God's word 
appear in our hearts and lives, the more fruitful is our conversation. All 


comes indeed upon the truth of our humiliation ; and when that is not 
deep and true, all the rest is shallow and counterfeit. There[fore] we 
should work it upon our own hearts. 

5. And labour to he humble and low in all the potvers of our souls ; to 
have humble judgments, to think of ourselves as God thinks of us. God 
thinks of us as sinners ; God and Christ think of us that we are such as 
must deny all in us before we be fit for heaven. Let us judge of ourselves 
as he that must be our judge doth and will judge of us ere long. Labour 
to have low judgments of ourselves ; what we are in ourselves, empty of 
all good, defiled with all ill. 

And this will breed poverty of spirit in our judgments. Then let us 
labour for humility in our aflections ; to bring ourselves more to God ; to 
stoop to him in fear and reverence ; and humilit}' in our obedience and 
conversation to God and to men every way. Let humility spread itself over 
all the parts and powers of the soul and body, and over om* whole lives. 
I cannot stand further upon that. 

Now, here is verbal humiliation, that is, by confession, expressing our 
humiliation by our words ; as the people of God do here by confession, 
laying open our sins that God may cover them. "What we hide God will 
never cm-e ; therefore we should take heed that now we are to deal with 
God, we lay open the bottom of our souls to him ; let not the iron be 
in the wound. You know a chirurgeon can heal nothing if the iron or 
poisoned arrow stick there. If there be corruption in the stomach, it 
must up. If it be ill-gotten goods, it will not digest, up it must all to 
God. For men, except there be scruples that a man cannot free his con- 
science, there is no necessity, though great conveniency ; but between 
God and thy soul open all by confession, and give not over till thou hast 
brought pardon to thy heart of that sin thou hast confessed. Every slight 
confession is not enough, but it must be a resolved, downright confession, 
without guile of spirit, as it is in Ps. xxxii. 4. This is the course that 
David takes there. Until he dealt roundly with his soul, without guile, 
' his moisture was as the drought of summer.' He was in some dangerous 
disease that could not be cured. And do we look to be preserved from 
falling into sickness ? or if we be sick, to be cured ? We must begin the 
cure in our souls ; lay open the wound to God : ' I said, I will confess my 
sin, and thou forgavest me.' He begins with confession. So all persons 
that either fear or are under any judgment, let them begin with laying 
open their souls to God. When the soul is healed, he will heal the body 
presently after, for he lays sickness upon the body for the soul ; and when 
the wound is healed, the plaster will fall off of itself. Therefore let us lay 
open our sins by confession, and shame our souls all that we can. 

This is the way to give glory to God. Let us join both together, our 
own ease and glory to God. When w-e have laid open our souls to God, 
and laid as much against ourselves as the devil could do that way — for let 
us think what the devil would lay to our charge at the hour of death and 
the day of judgment, he would lay hard to our charge this and that — let 
us accuse ourselves as he would, and as he will ere long. The more we 
accuse and judge ourselves, and set up a tribunal in our hearts, certainly 
there will follow an incredible ease. Jonah was cast into the sea, and 
there was ease in the ship ; Achan was stoned, and the plague was stayed. 
Out with Jonah, out with Achan, and there will follow ease and quiet in 
the soul presently ; conscience will receive wonderful ease. It must needs 
be so, for when God is honoured conscience is purified. God is honoured 

188 THE chukch's complaint and confidence. 

by confession of sin every way. It honours his omniscience ; that he is 
all-seeing, that he sees our sins and searcheth the hearts. Our secrets are 
not hid from him. It honours his power. What makes us confess our 
sins, but that we are afraid of his power, lest he should execute it ? And 
what makes us confess our sins, but that we know there is ' mercy with 
him that he may be feared,' Ps. cxxx. 4, and that there is pardon for sin ? 
We would not confess our sins else. With men it is confess and have 
execution, but with God confess and have mercy. It is his own protesta- 
tion. We should never lay open our sins but for mercy. So it honours 
God ; and when he is honoured, he honours the soul with inward peace 
and tranquillity. We can never have peace in our souls till we have dealt 
roundly with our sins, and favour them not a whit ; till we have ripened 
our confession to be a thorough confession. What is the difference between 
a Christian and another man ? Another person slubbers over his sins ; 
God is merciful, &c. ; and he thinks if he come to the congregation, and 
follow the minister, it will serve the turn. But a Christian knows that 
religion is another manner of matter, another kind of work than so. He 
must deal thoroughly and seriously, and lay open his sin as the chief 
enemy in the world, and labour to raise all the hatred he can against it, 
and make it the object of his bitter displeasure, as being that that hath 
done him more hurt than all the world besides ; and so he confesseth it 
with all the aggravations of hatred and envy that he can. 

But to come more particularly to the confession here spoken of: 'We 
all are as an unclean thing,' &c. 

' We all.' 

We see here holy men themselves confess their sins, and rank themselves 
among sinners in their confessions. So we learn hence this, 

That we in our confessions (in ottr fastinys especially) ought to ranh our- 
selves among the rest of sinners, and not to exempt ourselves from other 
sinners. Perhaps we are not guilty of some sins that they have been guilty 
of. God hath been merciful to us and kept us in obedience in some things. 
But, alas ! there is none of us all but we have had a hand in the sins of 
the times. The best of all conditions are guilty of them. Therefore we 
have cause to rank ourselves among others, as he saith here, ' We are all as 
an unclean thing ; ' and as Daniel, he makes a confession of the sins of all, 
' we are all of us guilty.' 

How are we all guilty ? 

(1.) We are all guilty in this respect, tve receive some taint and soil from 
the times we live in. Either our zeal is weakened ; we do not grieve so 
much for the sins of the times ; and who is not guilty in this respect ? 
We do not grieve and lament as we should ; as St Paul tells the Corinthians, 
they should have been sorry and humbled, 1 Cor. v. 6. They were guilty 
of the sin of the incestuous person, because they were not humbled for it. 
We are thus far guilty at least, the best of us, that we do not sorrow for 
the common sins. Alas ! how many sins are there that everybody may 
see in the times in all ranks ! In pastors, what unfaithfulness, and in 
governors and in places of justice ; what crying of the poor and men 
oppressed ; and in all ranks of people we see a general security ; we see 
filthiness and hear oaths, ' for which the land mourns,' as Jeremiah saith, 
Jer. xxiii. 10. These and such like sins provoke God and solicit the ven- 
geance of God ; and will have no nay till they have pulled down vengeance. 
Who hath been so much humbled for these sins as he ought ? Perhaps 
ourselves are not personally guilty of them. But are they not our sins, so 

1 THE church's complaint AND CONFIDENCE. 189 

far as we are not abased for them, and oppose them, and repress them as 
we should in our places and standings, whether we be ministers or magis- 
trates ? Thus far we are guilty all. Therefore the prophet might well say, 
* We all are as an unclean thing,' &c. 

(2.) Then again, there is great si/mpath>/ in the hearts of good men. They 
are full of pity and compassion ; and therefore they join themselves with 
others, partly knowing that they are guilty in some degree with others, and 
partly because they are members of the same body politic and ecclesiastical. 
They live in the same church and commonwealth. Therefore all join their 
confession together. ' We all are as an unclean thing,' &c. 

Use. Let us make this use of it, every one of iis to be humbled. Do not 
every one of us bring sticks to the common fire ? Do we not add some- 
thing to the common judgment ? If there be two malefactors that have 
committed a trespass, one of them is taken and used in his kind ; he is 
executed. Will it not grieve the other ? He will think, was it not my 
case ? I was a wretched sinner as well as he. If there be divers traitors, 
and the king is merciful to one, and the other he executes, will it not grieve 
him that is spared, if he have any bowels of good nature, besides good- 
ness in other kinds? Will he not think, it was my own case? There was 
no difference between me and them, only the mercy of the king ? So the 
best of us may think, have I not a corrupt nature, and for the sins of the 
times, am not I soiled with them ? Others have been stricken; might not 
the same arrow have stricken me ? Certainly this consideration, that we 
bring something to the public sins, it will make us humbled for the public, 
as the church here confesseth, * We are all as an unclean thing,' &c. 
To come to the particulars of the confession. 
' We are all as an unclean thing.' 

Here is a confession of their persons. Their persons were tainted. We 
are all a tainted seed and generation in nature. What the wickedest is 
wholly, the best are in part. Therefore it is no error that we should say 
so and so of ourselves in our confessions ; as Saint Paul saith of himself, 
* I am sold under sin,' Rom. vii. 14. One would wonder that he should 
confess so. Alas ! blessed man, he felt that in part that others in the 
state of nature are wholly. So we are all filthy. The best, as far as they 
are not renewed, are as other men are. 
' Unclean.' 

It is a comparison taken from the leprosy, or some other contagious 
disease. Those that were tainted of them were separated from the con- 
gregation seven days, or some set time. So it is with sin, especially the 
sins of this people. They had sinned grievously, and were severed from 
their land ; not seven days, but seventy years, the leprosy and filthiness of 
their sins and lives was such. 

Indeed, sin, especially the sin of nature, it is a leprosy, contagious, pesti- 
lential ; and as a leprosy it spreads over all the parts and powers of body 
and soul. Take a man that is not changed ; he hath a leprous eye, full of 
adultery ; he hath a leprous, uncircumcised ear. Ask him how he judgeth 
of discourses and sermons. He relisheth nothing but that which is frothy 
and vain. Plain, substantial, solid discourses, either in hearing or read- 
ing, will not down with him. He hath a leprous judgment. His eyes, and 
ears, and tongue are defiled and corrupt. He is vile and abominable in his 
speeches. He is uncircumcised in all. All are unclean. All his powers 
are defiled by nature. 

All the washings in the law did signify this, the corruption and defile- 

190 THE chukch's complaint and confidence. 

ment of our natures, which needs another washing which they typified, a 
washing by the blood and Spirit of Christ. ' Christ came by water and 
blood,' 1 Johnv. 6, both in justification and sanctification. ' There is a 
fountain opened for Judah and Jerusalem to wash in,' Zech. xiii. 1. All 
those washings shewed a defilement spiritually, that needed a spiritual 
washing. This sin is a leprous, contagious sin ; therefore by nature we 
may all cry as the leper, * Unclean, unclean.' The best of us may take up 
that complaint as far as we are not renewed. A leprous man defiled the 
things that he touched. So it is with sin, till it be forgiven ; ' we defile 
everything. A proud man, especially when he is set out in his bravery, 
he thinks himself a jolly man, a brave creature. Alas ! he is a filthy 
creature ; not only in himself, but in everything he puts his hand unto. 
He taints and defiles everything, even civil actions. He sins in eating and 
drinking ; not that they in the substance of them are sins, but he stains 
everything ; for he forgets God in them ; he forgets himself exceedingly ; 
and he returns not thanks to God. So in moral, civil actions, much more 
in religious. He defiles himself in everything. He is defiled to all things, 
and all things are defiled to him. This is our state by nature, * We are 
all as an unclean thing.' 

Use. This should enforce a necesnty of cleansing ourselves in the hlood of 
Christ ; that is, in the death °of Christ, who hath satisfied the justice of God. 
Our natures are so foul in regard of the guilt and stain, that the blood of 
God-man, that is, the satisfactory * death of God-man, was necessary to 
breed reconciliation and atonement between God and us. ' And the blood 
of Christ, which by the eternal Spirit offered himself, must purge our con- 
sciences,' &c., Heb. ix. 14. Our consciences will not otherwise be pacified 
and cleansed in regard of guilt, but will clamour and cry still, much less 
will God be appeased. Neither God nor conscience will be pacified, but 
by the blood of him who by the eternal Spirit ofi'ered up himself ; and then 
it will in regard of the guilt and stain, then God and conscience will both 
be appeased. Therefore in Zech. xiii. 1, ' There is a fountain opened for 
Judah and Jerusalem to wash in.' And * The blood of Christ cleanseth us 
from all sin,' 1 John i. 7. Blood is of a defiling nature ; but the blood of 
Christ cleanseth because it is a satisfactory blood. He died, and was a 
sacrifice as a public person for us all. 

Then again, considering that we are all defiled, besides this cleansing 
from the guilt of sin, let us get our natures cleansed by the Spirit of Christ 
more and more. We are all defiled. 

Use. And take heed of those that are defiled ; take heed of sinners. Who 
would willingly He with a leprous person ? Yet notwithstanding, for matter of 
marriage and intimate society there is a littlef conscience made ; men con- 
verse with leprous company, they join in the most intimate society with 
those that are leprous in their judgments. The life of nature we know, 
and are careful to avoid what may impair it ; but it is a sign 'we have not 
the life of grace begun in us, because we do not value it. If we had, we 
would be more careful to preserve it, and to take heed of contagious com- 
pany. Who would go to the pest-house, or to one that hath ' Lord, have 
mercy upon us ' on the door ? (a) None but a madman. He might do so. 
And surely those that join with swearers and drunkards and filthy persons, 
and go to filthy places and houses (as many do, the more shame for them), 
they think they have no souls nor no account to make, they go to these 
places and infect themselves. It is a sign they have no life of grace ; all 
* That is, = satisfaction-giving. — G. t Qu. ' little ' ? — En. 


companies are alike to them. Is this strength of grace ? No. They have 
no life of grace, they have nothing to lose ; for if they had the life of grace, 
they would preserve it better. 

Sin is a filthy thing, more filthy than the leprosy, nay, than the plague 
itself ; for the plague or leprosy makes but the body loathsome, but the sin 
that we cherish and are loath to hear of makes the soul loathsome. The 
one makes unfit for the company of men ; but the other, sin and corruption 
and lusts, unfit us for the kingdom of God, for heaven, for life or death. 
Therefore it is woi'se. The leprosy of the body makes a man not a whit 
odious to God ; but the leprosy of the soul makes us hateful to him. We 
may have more intimate communion with God in the plague than out 
of the plague, because God supplies the want of outward comforts ; but 
in sin we can have no comfortable communion and society with God. 
Therefore this plague of the soul is many ways worse than the pestilence. 
But we want faith. God hath not opened our eyes to see that that we shall 
see and know ere long, and it is happy if we consider it in time. 

To conclude this point concerning the corruption of nature. Take 
David's course, Ps. li. 1, seq. When sinful actions come from us, or 
unsavoury words, or beastly thoughts, or unchaste and noisome desires 
that grieve the Spirit of God, let us go to the fountain. Alas ! my nature 
is leprous as far as it is not purged. * I was conceived in sin, my mother 
brought me forth in iniquity.' The more we take occasion every day to 
see and observe the corruption of our nature, the less it is, and we cannot 
better take occasion than upon every actual sin to run to the fountain, the 
filthy puddle from whence all comes, and be more humble for that than 
for particular sins. It is a mistake in men ; they are ashamed of an action 
of injustice, &c., but they should go to their nature and think I have a false, 
unclean nature, whereby I am ready to commit a thousand such if God 
should let me alone. I have the spawn of all sin as far as the Spirit hath 
not subdued it. It is a defect of judgment to be more humbled for parti- 
cular sins. Nature is more tainted than any action. That sowing, breeding 
sin, as the apostle saith, it is worse than the action, it breeds the rest. So 
much for that. They confess here, ' We are all as an unclean thing ' in 

But what comes from us ? 

That that aggravates to the utmost a sinful state. 

' All our righteousness is as filthy rags.' 

He doth not say we have filthy actions, but our best actions are stained ; 
and not one, but all. Mark how strong the place is, ' we all,' the people 
of God. He includes all, as Daniel saith, ' I confess my sins, and the sins 
of my people.' And there is no man in the church but he might have this 
confession in his mouth, ' we,' the people of God, and ' all we ;' in all our 
actions, ' all our righteousness,' &c. So all the actions of all the right- 
eous, the best actions of the best men, and all the best actions of the best 
men are defiled and stained. It is as great an aggravation as may be. 

Some would have it to intend the legal righteousness, yet notwithstanding 
it is true of all. And when we now humble ourselves, it is good to think 
of all. So we may say, ' All our righteousness.' Whatsoever comes from 
us it is stained and defiled. As for their legal performances, there is no 
question of them ; for, alas ! they trusted too much to them. In Isaiah i. and 
Isaiah last, they thought God was beholding to them for them : ' Away with 
them, away with your new moons,' &c. They were abominable to God 

192 THE church's complaint and confidence. 

as ' the cutting ofi' a clog's neck,' as it is Isaiah the last, Isa Ixvi. 3. So 
all their righteousness, their ceremonial performances, were abominable. 

But I say we may i"aise it higher. It is not only true of them, but in 
greater matters, in our best moral performances, they are all as tainted 

Obj. How can this be ? It is strange it should be so. The papists cry 
out here that we discourage men from good works. If all our righteousness 
be as filthy rags, why should we perform good works ? 

Ans. Put case a man be sick, all the meat he eats it strengthens his 
sickness, shall he therefore not eat at all ? Yes. He must eat somewhat. 
There is nature in him to strengthen as well as his disease. Thy best per- 
formances are stained ; wilt thou do none therefore ? Yes. Though they 
be stained, yet there is some goodness in them. Thou mayest honour God, 
and do good to others. Besides the ill there is good. There is gold in the 
ore. There is some good in every good action. Nay, there is so much 
good as that God pardons the ill, and accepts the good. So though our 
good actions be ill, yet for their kind, and matter, and stuff, they are good, 
they are commanded of God. For their original and spring they are wrought 
by the Spirit of God ; for the person, the workman, it is one in the state of 
grace ; and for acceptance God rewards them. But it is another thing 
when we come before God to humble ourselves. Then we must see what 
stains and sins are in them. There is no good action so good, but there 
are wants and weaknesses, and stains and blemishes in it as it comes from 
us. The Spirit of God indeed is effectual to stir us up to good actions ; 
but we hinder the work of the Holy Ghost, and do not do them so thoroughly 
as we should. Therefore, besides our wants and weaknesses, there is a 
tainture of them. Either we have false aims, they are not so direct, or 
our resolutions are not so strong. False aims creep in for a while, though 
we do not allow them ; and then there are some coolers of our devotion. 
Our love is cold, our hatred of sin is not so strong, our prayers are not so 
fervent, our actions are not so carried without interruption, but are hindered 
with many by-thoughts. Who cannot complain of these things ? Who is 
not brought upon his knees for the weakness of his best actions ? Nay, I 
say more, a Christian is more humbled for the imperfections and stains of 
his best actions, than a civil* carnal person is for his outward enormities ; 
for he turns over all his outward delinquencies, and makes the matter but a 
trick of youth ; when a poor Christian is abased for his dulness, and dead- 
ness, and coldness, for false aims that creep into his actions, for interruptions 
in his duties, that his thoughts will not sufier him to serve God with that 
intentionf that he would, but puts him ofi' with motions and suggestions 
and temptations in his best performances ; ihis abaseth him more than 
outward gross sins doth a carnal person. When we deal with God, ' our 
righteousness it is as menstruous cloths,' Isa. xxx. 22. 

Know this for a ground, that there is a double principle in a Christian 
in all things that he doth. There is flesh and spirit ; and these two issue 
out in whatsoever comes from him. In his good words, there is flesh as 
well as spirit ; in his thoughts and desires ; in his prayer, his prayer itself 
stands in contraries. So everything that comes from him it is tainted with 
that that is contrary. The flesh opposeth and hinders the work of the 
Spirit, and so it stains our good works. Therefore contraries are true of 
a Christian, which seem strange to another man. A Christian at the same 
time is deformed and well-favoured. ' He is black and comely.' ' I am 

* That is, ' merely moral.' — G. t That is, ' intentness.' — Ed, 

THE church's complaint AND CONFIDENCE. 193 

Dlacli but 3'et well-favoured,' saitli the spouse, Cant, i, 5 ; black in regard 
of sin, but well-favoured in regard of the Spirit of God and the acceptation 
of Christ. He is a saint and a sinner : a sinner in respect that sin hath 
spread over all parts, and a saint in respect of Christ's acceptance. ' My 
love and my dove.' Christ makes love to his church as if she had no 
defilement ; but he looks on her better part ; he looks on her as she is in 
his love, and as he means to bring her after. But the church looking upon 
herself as she is in herself, she is much abased. The ground of it is the 
imperfection of sanctification in this world. The best of our works are * as 
menstruous cloths,' When we think of the corruption of the best things 
as they come from us, when we come to humble ourselves before God, we 
must down with proud styles and pharisaical thoughts, although there be 
somewhat that is good. Yet let us think of all the ill that may abase us. 

There is a season for every thing, when we are tempted to be overcome 
by Satan. Then think of the good, as Job when he was tempted. ' I 
have done this and this ; you cannot take away mine innocency,' Job 
xxxiii. 9. In false temptations from the world and Satan, then stand upon 
our innocenc3\ But when we humble ourselves before God — ' Alas ! I am 
dust and ashes,' ' I abhor myself,' as Job and Abraham said. Gen. xviii. 27, 
Job xlii. G — lay all proud apprehensions of ourselves aside ; and all good 
works, especially in one kind, in matter of justification, ' all is dung in 
comparison of Christ,' Philip, iii. 8. All must be sold for the pearl, the 
righteousness of Christ. There is no reckoning must be had of good works 
by way of merit in justification and our title to heaven. What gives us 
title to heaven and frees us from hell ? The death of Christ, the obedi- 
ence and satisfaction of Christ. God by it hath redeemed us perfectly 
without anything in ourselves, and accepts us to life everlasting only by the 
righteousness of Christ. Therefore it is called God's righteousness, because 
it was done by Christ, it was wrought by God. Our righteousness is as * a 
menstruous cloth.' It is spotted and stained and defiled. It will not do 
the deed. It will not satisfy conscience, much less the exact piercing 
judgment of God. That is the righteousness that must stay our souls in 
life and death, and we must oppose it to all temptations, as a satisfying 
thing that will set down conscience to be quiet. It must be righteousness 
of God-man ; nothing else will do it. ' All our righteousness is as filthy 
rags.' That is the confession of their sinful actions. 

The next thing he confesseth is senselessness. ' There is none that calls 
upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee.' There be 
other words betv/een concerning the complaint of their miserable estate ; but 
I will handle them that concern their sins first. 

' There is none that calls upon thy name.' 

In a word, he means that none worshipped him ; because prayer is put 
for the whole worship of God, as indeed it may well be put for the whole, 
for it exerciseth all the graces of the Spirit. What one grace is not set on 
work in prayer ? It is put for all the inward worship of God. If it be 
faith, prayer is the flame of faith. When there is faith in the heart there 
will be prayer in the mouth. The knowledge of God : prayer is grounded 
upon a promise. So it comes from that part of spiritual worship. Hope : 
hope makes a man pray. No man would pour out his supplications but to 
him that ho hath hope in. And for love : God's love and mercy draws us 
into his presence ; and joy and delight in the presence of God draws us to 
pray. We give God the honour of all his attributes in prayer ; of his truth, 



of his goodness, of bis mercy, of his presence everywhere, Ac. So it sets 
all graces on work, and gives God the honour of all. It is the worship of 
God every way ; for though it be an outward verbal worship of itself, yet 
it expresseth the w^orship of God inward. It gives God the honour of all. 
Therefore, those that pray not, what kind of persons are they ? Wretched 
persons. The sickness is now among us. If a man should ask now. What 
family is likeliest to have the vengeance of God on it ? — though I speak 
not to censure those that have it, but I speak in God's ordinary course — 
surely those that do not exercise the duty of prayer. ' Pour out thy wrath 
upon those that call not upon thy name,' Ps. Ixxix. 6. Those families that 
call not upon God humbly morning and evening, or that person that doth 
not morning and evening reverently call upon God, they are fit objects for 
the vengeance of God, for the plague or the like. ' Pour out thy wrath 
upon the femilies and persons that call not upon thy name,' insinuating 
that the Lord will spare us if we do call upon his name and humble our- 
selves. If thou wilt needs pour out thy vengeance, let it be on them that 
have not grace humbly to call upon thy name. Let us make conscience of 
this duty, except we will prove atheists, and lie open to all the vengeance 
of God. 

' There is none that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee.' 
He represents God to us as a great person, that would bestow some 
benefits, and is ready to turn away himself; yet none lays hold of him or 
desires him to stay. So, saith he, there is none that lays hold on God, to 
keep him that he should not go away. Therefore, when he saith, ' None 
calls upon thy name, or stirs up himself to take hold of thee,' he means 
there are none that pray earnestly. Incense was to be burnt, or else it 
cast no sweet smell. Our prayers must have fire and zeal in them. Our 
prayers must be cries that must pierce heaven. ' Out of the deep have I 
cried unto thee. Lord,' Ps. cxxx. 1. We must stir up ourselves ; we must 
waken ourselves to waken God. Indeed, before we can waken God we 
must waken ourselves. 

' There is none stirreth up himself to taJ,-c hold of thee.'' 
Insinuating that if we would lay hold of God he will be stayed. To speak 
a little more particularly of this. God is so gracious that he will be stayed 
even hj prayer. The way to stay God in his judgments, and to lay hold 
of him and keep him among us, it is prayer. Let us take notice now of 
the hand of God upon us ; what is the means to stop his hand, that he 
come not among us with his public judgments ? It is prayer. The way 
to stop God, and the angel that hath his sword now drawn over our heads, 
it is prayer. God so condescends that he will be stopped by prayer ; as 
we see in Exod. xxxii. 10. He saith to Moses, ' Let me alone.' Moses 
prayed, and alleged arguments to God that he should not confound his 
people. ' Let me alone,' saith he, insinuating that prayer binds God's 
hands. So powerful is prayer, that it binds the Almighty. It makes the 
Omnipotent in some sort impotent. He cannot do that he would, he can- 
not execute his wrath ; prayer binds him. When a company of Christians 
lay hold on him by prayer, he cannot do that he threateneth. The only 
way to lay hold of God is by prayer. In Ezek. xiii. 5, there is a complaint 
that ' none stood in the gap,' insinuating that if any had stood in the gap 
when the vengeance of God was coming abroad, they might have prevented 
the wrath. The way to stand in the gap and to keep God is to pray, and 
to pray heartily. 

I THE church's complaint AND CONFIDENCE. 105 

Now that God may be held by our prayers, they must be strong prayers. 
Every prayer will not hold God. They must be strong prayers that must 
bind such a Sampson that hath his strength. Therefore there must be a 
stirring up of ourselves. He saith here, ' There is none that stirreth up 
himself to take hold of thee.' So it is the duty of Christians to stir up 
themselves in these times. 

Quest. How shall we stir up ourselves ? 

Ans. 1. First, Bij comiderinri the danger ice are in. Danger felt or 
feared, it will make a man lay hold. When a child feels the smart of the 
rod, he lays hold upon his father or his mother's hand. Strike no more ! 
When the children of God feel the smart of his judgments, then they cry, 
' Oh no more !' The cry of the child prevails with the mother, though it 
cannot speak ofttimes. '^So when in the sense of sin and misery we cry to 
God, we move his bowels with crying. There is no question but the serious 
apprehension of danger felt doth awaken the soul and stir it up. ^ It is so 
also in danger feared. A danger feared, with belief, will work as if it were 
present ; for a man that hath a spirit of faith to see that unless God be 
appeased with good courses, he will punish, as surely as if the judgment 
were upon him. Faith makes things present, both good and ill ; and it 
makes a man sensible of things that are not yet upon him. This is the 
difference between a Christian and another man. Another man ' puts the 
evil day far off from him ;' but a believing Christian, by a spirit of faith, 
sees God, except he be turned away by hearty and humble repentance, 
ready to seize upon him ; and so he walks humbly in all his courses. So 
that danger felt or feared by a spirit of faith awakens and stirs up the soul 
to lay hold on God. 

Therefore in spiritual dangers we should especially waken our souls to 
see in what need we stand of Christ and the pardoning mercy of God in 
Christ, that we may waken him and give him no rest till we find peace in 
our consciences. 

2. Then again, that that we may stir up ourselves withal, is meditation 
of the necessity and excellency of grace, and of the good things tve heg. The 
serious consideration of that will make us stir up ourselves to lay hold on 
God, and give him no rest till we have it. When a man thinks the ' loving- 
kindness of God is better than life,' Ps. Ixiii. 3, and if I have not that, my 
life is nothing to me. It is not only better than corn and wine and oil, but 
than life itself. Pardon of sin, and a heart to do good, is better than_ life 
itself, than anything in the world. If one should ofier such a man this, a 
heart patiently to bear ill, and large to do good, and strength against tempta- 
tions, he would rather have this gracious disposition than anything in the 
world ; he had rather have the pardon of sin with the sense of God's favour 
than anything in the world. This will stir up a man, as we see in David, 
Ps. li. 1, scq., ' Mercy, mercy;' it binds God and lays hold on him, together 
with pardoning mercy, to have a heart enlarged with spiritual joy. There 
is nothing spiritual, but it is so excellent, that if we had the eyes of our 
spirits awakened to see them, we would bind God and lay hold of him. He 
should not go further till he had shined on us. 

3. Therefore let us offer violence to God this loay ; never give him rest till 
we oUain. You see when the two disciples were going to Emmaus, Christ 
made as though he would have gone further, but they ' compelled' him, 
Luke xxiv. 29. Now there is a semblance as if God threatened war, and 
would take away the gospel. There are dangers toward. When God 
makes such a semblance, let us lay hold on him ; let him go no further. 

196 THE chukch's complaint and confidence. 

Lord, night approaclieth and affliction approacheth. Lord, stay ; thou shalt 
go no further. Let us stop God with importunity. The consideration of 
danger, and the necessity and excellency of the things we beg, will make us 
lay hold on God. 

There is an hypocrisy among men, among a company of formalists, that 
are the bane of the times, that God will spue out. They are as ill as a pro- 
fane person in his nostrils. They think that all devotion is in prostrating 
themselves, which is good, and more than profane men will do, and yield 
a dead sacrifice to God. They will come and hear, and yield the outward 
act in outward humiliation. Is this to rouse thyself? Outward things are 
never current but when they express outwardly the inward truth. There- 
fore take another course, man ; God cares not for the dead, empty carcase 
thou bringest him. Work upon thine own heart by meditation of the 
danger thou art in, and of the excellency of the things thou art to beg, and 
meditate of the majesty of God whom thou appearest before, of his good- 
ness and truth, &c. Affect thy heart deeply with these apprehensions ; let 
these serious thoughts draw outward expressions of humiliation. And then 
it is excellent when the outward expression follows the inward impression ; 
when there is somewhat inward that shews itself outward ; when we stir up 
ourselves, and not to think that all devotion consists in a comely, outward 
carriage — which is commendable of itself — but because men usually rest in 
it, it is prejudicial to their soul's good. We must offer a reasonable sacri- 
fice to God ; we must love him in our hearts ; we must work upon our 
hearts and carry ourselves so in our inward man, as that we may stir up 
our whole man and awaken our souls: * Praise the Lord, my soul, and 
all that is within me, praise his holy name,' Ps. ciii. 1. "We should stir up 
ourselves by speaking to our own souls, that wo may waken and take hold 
of God. 

4. This again will help it, A man should never come to pray, but he should 
have an ansicer be/ore he hath done, either at that time or another. Never 
give over till thou hast an answer. This will make us stir up ourselves 
indeed. How do you know a prayer from a formal lip-labour ? A man 
that prays conscionably* marks what he doth, and expects a return, as a 
man that soweth his seed. He that doth a thing with hope of issue will do 
it throughly. Therefore never pray to perform an empty duty to God ; 
but mark what you pray for, if it be forgiveness of sins, or for grace, or 
protection, &c., and do it with that earnestness that you may hope for an 
issue answerable ; and this going about it will make us do it to purpose. 
Do we think to serve God with the deed done ? God hath appointed prayer 
for our good, and to convey blessings to us. Let us pray so as we may 
expect a blessing by it. Now that prayer that expects a blessing to bo con- 
veyed, it will be a prayer to purpose. It will make a man stir up himself. 

* There is none that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee.' 

The complaint of this holy man of God may be taken up at this time of 
many of us now. How few are those that rouse and stir up themselves, 
but put off God with an empty compliment ! Nay, in these times of danger, 
have ye not a company of idle persons that will not vouchsafe to hear the 
word, nor to come and humble themselves, but walk and talk oflensively, as 
if they would dare God ; or if they come here, they come not with a reso- 
lution to hear the issue of their prayers, to rouse up themselves ' to lay 
hold on God.' Because, as there is a great deal of atheism in regard of 
God, so there is much dead flesh in regard of men. Who is so pitiful of 
* Tliat is, ' conscientiously.' — G. 

I THE church's complaint AND CONFIDENCE. 197 

our brethren round about as be ought? We bad need to stir up ourselves. 
The danger is present. We are beset round about, yet who is stirred up 
to earnest prayer ? We want bowels of compassion. Those that have 
hearts compassionate, it is a sign that God intends good to them. But of 
the most we may take up this complaint, we are dead-hearted in regard 
of our sins against God, and in regard of the contagion among us. A 
man may see it by men's discourses. There is inquiry how the sickness 
spreads ? how many dies ? But men do not labour with God to make 
their accounts even with him ; nor we are not compassionate to men : for 
that would be a means to stir and to rouse us up ' to lay hold of God,' to 
stay his hand out of love and pity and compassion to our brethren which 
are our flesh, though it should never seize on us. I say, I fear this com- 
plaint is too justly on many of us. I beseech you, let us labour to amend 
it as we tender* our own salvation — perhaps that we do not regard so much, 
we shall ere long, but then — as we tender the health of our bodies, which 
we prefer before our souls, let us bumble ourselves more than ordinary now. 

Some devils are not driven out but by prayer and fasting. Mat. xvii. 21. 
So some judgments, they will not away without prayer and fasting ; not 
only public, but private fasting and prayer. Sometimes there must be 
more than ordinary humiliation for some sins ; for some kind of tempta- 
tions there must be prayer and fasting ; for some maladies prayer and 
fasting, and more than ordinary stirring and rousing up of ourselves to lay 
hold upon God. God will not be held with ordinary humiliation. That 
will not do it ; but there must be a resolution against, and a hatred of all 
sin, and to please God in all things. We must do it with extraordinary 
humiliation now, because the judgment is extraordinary. There is ordinary 
humiliation and extraordinary : as there are ordinary feasts and extra- 
ordinary, so there is ordinary' humiliation for daily trespasses ; but in extra- 
ordinary judgments, extraordinary fasting and humiliation. As there is 
ordinary washing daily, but there is washing and scouring at good times. 
God calls for extraordinary humiliation now ; not only prayers, but stirring 
and rousing up of ourselves. We should apprehend the danger as seizing 
on ourselves. This night it may seize upon us, for aught we know. It 
should affect us and make us stir up ourselves. This is the way to hold 
God by pra3'er; and if we hold him, he will hold the destroying angel. He 
hath all creatures at his command. Thus you see how we should confess 
the sins of our persons, the sins of our good actions, our want of calling 
upon God. 'There is none that calls upon thy name, that stirs up himself 
to take hold of thee.' Thus far proceed the branches of their sinful dis- 
position in those times. 

Now he complains likewise of the judgments of God. 

' We all fade as a leaf; our iniquities, as the wind, have taken us away. 
Thou hast hid thy face, and we are consumed because of our iniquities.' 

The complaint hath these four branches ; a little of each. 

' We all fade as a leaf.' 

Wicked men are ' as leaves ; ' and worse, they are ' as chaff.' Godly men, 
because they have a consistence, and are rooted in Christ, and set in a good 
soil, they are ' trees of righteousness.' But godly men in the state of their 
nature, and in regard of this life, they are as leaves. Wicked men are as 
leaves every way, and as ' chaff which the wind blowetb away,' as we shall 
see afterwards. 

* That is, = ' care for.'— G. 



' We all fade as a leaf.' 

1. He means, first, iii regard of ceremonial 2)crformances that xvere without 
vigour ami spirit of true devotion. There was no spirit in their legal perfor- 
mances. They were dead empty things. Therefore when judgment came 
they were as leaves. So an idle careless hearer, when judgment comes, 
all is as leaves. When conscience nips him, as his atheistical heart will 
do ere long, then he is as a leaf, all fades away. The Jews, when they 
were in trouble, all their legal performances faded, they were all as a leaf. 

2. So it is true in regard of mortaUttj, the vanity of health and strength. 
We all as a leaf ftide away when God's judgments come to nip us. Men 
are as leaves ; as the leaves now in autumn fall, and there is a new gene- 
ration in the spring ; and then they fall away, and a new generation comes 
again ; so it is with men : some are blown ofi", and some come on again. 
' We all fade as a leaf.' Not to be large in the point, at this time we are 
all as leaves. In this city now, there is a kind of wind that nips a world 
of men, many hundreds in the head.'" It is an autumn wind that nips the 
leaves. Our autumn wind with us is before the time — a kind of autumn 
wind in the spring, in summer, that nips the leaves and takes away the 
vigour of health. 

- 3. And so, as I said, /or all idle performances, that have not a foundation 
in substantial 2>i^ty, they are all as leaves. When trouble of conscience 
comes, they are as Adam's fig-leaves. When God comes to search and 
examine, they all fall ofl', both in respect of our performances and in respect 
of our lives. We are all as leaves when God comes in judgment. This is 
one part of the complaint. ' We are all as leaves.' The like we have of 
Moses, the man of God, Ps. xc. 6. Wlien God blows upon us with the 
wind of his displeasure, we fall off as leaves. 

Then another exjjression is, 

' Our iniquities, as the wind, have taken us away.' 

As chafi', or things that have no solidity in them, are blown away 
with a pufl' of wind, so it is with a man if he be not a Christian, set into 
and gathered unto Christ. By the fall we all fell from God, and were 
scattered from him. Sin blew the angels out of heaven. It blew Adam 
out of paradise ; and now Christ, the ' second Adam,' gathers us to him 
again by his word and Spirit, and so we have a solid and eternal being in 
him. But out of Christ, our iniquities, as a wind, and God's judgments, 
blow us all away first or last. Wicked men settle on their dregs a great 
while, but when God's judgment comes, it blows them in this world to 
this part and that part ofttimes, when it pleaseth him to exercise his out- 
ward judgments. But if he do not blow them aw^ay here, he will give them 
a blast that shall send them to hell, their centre. Out of Christ there is no 
solidity, no consistence or being for any man. Therefore, when God's 
judgment comes, it blo^s them away in this M'orld, and at the hour of death 
sends them to hell. This is the state of all. ' Our iniquities, like the wind, 
take us away.' He means here, they were blown out of Jewry to Babylon. 
It was a strong blast that blew them out of their own country. 
• May not we say, 'Our iniquities have blown us away?' What hath 
blown us from our callings and employments ? Is it not the pestilence ? 
And what brings that ? Is it not our iniquities ? So that w^e may all com- 
plain of this, ' Our iniquities have blown us away.' 

We see here he lays the blame upon their iniquities. Did not the 
Babylonians carry them away ? Alas ! they were but God's instruments. 

* Qu. ' day ' ?— Ed. 

' THE church's complaint AND CONFIDENCE. 199 

God was displeased by tlieir sins ; bis wratb blew tbem away. So you 
may see here tbe child of God in all judgments looks to his sins. He 
justifies God. He murmurs not, and says this and that. No. But, it 
was my sins : ' We have sinned against tbe Lord,' Lam. v. 16 ; Micab 
vii. 9, * I will bear tbe wrath of tbe Lord, because I have sinned against 
bim ;' and Lam. iii. 39, ' Man suiiers for his sins ; ' and every one of us 
may say, ' It is our iniquities have taken us away.' A gracious heart 
justifies God and condemns itself. The children of God may complain 
sometimes of God's band, but they will never censure God's hand. They 
justify God alway, though they may complain of the bitterness of bis band. 
Here they complain of the bitterness of the judgment. They were blown 
into another country, into captivity. They do not complain of God. God 
will have us complain; but as he will have us complain, so we must justify 
him and condemn ourselves ; just are thy judgments. 

An hypocrite thinks God is beholding to bim for his outward perfor- 
mances, and when judgments befall him, be frets and censures God. Either 
he thinks there is no God, or be frets and fumes against God : he is dis- 
contented. But a Christian justifies God, and condemns himself. * Our 
iniquities have blown us away.' Our sins keep good things from us. 

Use. Therefore, let us now lay tbe blame where it is. Search out our 
sins, personal and particular, and complain of tbem. They have a hand 
in this plague. God is no tyrant. He delights not to confound his crea- 
tures ; but sin makes him out of love with his creatures, the workmanship 
of his own hands. It is our sins. Therefore, let us lament the sins of the 
times. So far we may without hypocrisy, and ought to take to heart, and 
mourn for the sins of the times that wc bear by others and see ourselves, 
and mourn for our own hearts that we cannot mourn. We must mourn 
for the sins of the times, as Daniel and Nehemiah, and all the blessed men 
of God have done. It is not the plague that hurts us. That is but God's 
messenger. Sin doth us more barm than all tbe devils in bell and all tbe 
plagues in the world. It is not outward evils we need to fear. Let us fear 
sin, and lay bold on God. He is the Lord of hosts. He bath all the 
creatures at bis command. Let us get sin away, that doth all the mischief. 
It is that that makes bate between God and us, and then God makes a 
controversy between us and tbe creatures. It is our sins. 

And that is tbe reason of tbe necessity of humiliation for our sins, because 
sin breeds a separation between God and us, and between the creatures and 
us. When God is ofiended, tbe creatures are infected. Let us see our 
sins ; by tbem we infect the air : by our vain speeches, and oaths, and our 
tilthiness. Our sins infect the air, and that breeds infection in our bodies. 
Our sins cry. They have a voice to cry to God, if our prayers do not 
outcry tbem. Therefore, let us cry to God to bear the cry of our prayers, 
and not of our sins. How many voices have crying sins ! There is tbe 
voice of the people oppressed, the voice of filthiness, &c. Sins clamour in 
God's ears. They clamour for wages due, ' and the wages of sin is death,' 
Rom. vi. 23. Sin cries, though it says nothing in words. It cries in 
God's ears, and it will not rest till be bath poured out bis vengeance. Tbe 
tilthiness and oaths, and atheism and profaneness, the suffering of tbe 
dishonour of his name : these sins of the times are those that pull miseries 
upon us. ' Our iniquities have taken us away as the wind.' So much for 

' For thou hast bid thy face from us, and we are consumed because of 
our iniquities.' 

200 THE chukch's complaint and confidence. 

Sin makes God hide Lis face from us, and then ' we are consumed, 
because of our iniquities.' * We melt away in the hands of our iniquities,' 
as the word is (b). Indeed, sin is a cruel tyrant. When God leaves us in 
the hand of our sins, he leaves us in a cruel hand. Christ came to redeem 
us from our sins. Our sins are they that torment us. It is very signifi- 
cant in the original. 

' We are melted.' We melt away as wax before the fire, as snow before 
the sun, * because of our iniquities,' when God gives up men to be handled 
as their own sins will handle them. Nations melt before the hands of sin, 
and kings, and kingdoms, and all. Let God give up men to delight in sin, 
kingdoms or persons, they melt and moulder away in the hand of their sins. 

But to speak a little more of the next words. 

' Thou hast hid thy face from us.' 

That is, thou hast hid thy comfort from us. God hath a double face : 
a face that shines on our souls in peace, and joy, and comfort, when he 
saith to the soul, ' I am thy salvation,' Ps. xxxv. 3 ; and his face that shines 
on the outward estate, that keeps misery, and sickness, and danger from 
us, and bestows good things on us. And God takes away his face from us 
in regard of the inward man, v/hen he gives us no peace, but leaves us to 
spiritual desertion. In regard of the outward man, God hides his face when 
he gives us up to pestilence, and war, and sickness, and miseries in this 
life ; when he gives us up to outward desertion. 

Sometimes God shines on wicked men in outward things, but he hides 
his face for peace of conscience ; and sometimes God's children have his 
face shining on their conscience, but he hides his face in respect of outward 
things. Sometimes he shines in neither of both : as at this time he neither 
shined on these blessed men in outward favours, for they were in captivity, 
nor in the sense of his love and favour, for they were in desolation, and 
eclipsed every way. 

The face of God, it is as the sun to the creatures. When the sun hides 
his face, what is there but darkness and night ? What makes the night, 
but the absence of the sun ? What makes winter, but the absence of the 
Bun, when he grows low, and cannot heat the earth ? So what makes winter 
in the soul, deadness, and darkness, and dulness in God's service ? The 
absence of the face of God ; God shines not on the soul. What makes 
night in the soul, when the soul is benighted with ignorance, that it cannot 
see itself, nor see the judgments of God ? God shines not. ' The Sun of 
righteousness ' shines not on that soul. 

God is the Sun of the creature. He gives life to the creature. What 
■will become of the creature, when God neither shines outwardly nor inwardly 
on it ? As at the day of judgment, he shall take away outward comforts ; — 
there shall be no outward shining ; — and all inward comforts, they shall 
have no hope : he shall altogether hide his face. When God, the Fountain 
of all good, shall hide his face altogether from the creature, that is hell. 
The place where God shines not outwardly with comforts, nor inwardl}', 
nor there shall be no hope of neither, but a place of horror and despair, 
that is hell, as the hell of this life is when God shines not on our souls. 

Now, these holy men they complain, yet they pray : * Thou hast hid thy 
face,' Ps. Ixxxix, 4G. Here is the conflict of faith, that sees God hide his 
face, and yet will follow God. It sees God ready to turn away himself, 
and yet it will lay hold of him, and have a glance of him. It will wrestle 
with him, and not let him go without a blessing. So there be degrees of 
God's hiding of his face. Though God seem to hide his face, and to with- 


draw outward comforts, and perhaps in some to withdraw his favour from 
their hearts inwardly. What shall they do ? Droop ? No. Wrestle with 
God as Jacob. See through the cloud that is between God and thy soul. 
Break thorough by faith ; and with Job say, ' Though he kill me, yet will 
I trust iu him,' Job. xiii. 15. Let us stir up ourselves * to lay hold on God' 
when he seems to turn away his face ; and imitate good Jacob, never give 
over seeking the face of God. 

How shall we seek the face of God ? 

1. By jjrayer ; for that brings us to the face of God, though he seem to 
hide his face, as Jeremiah complains, Jer. xiv. 8, ' Why art thou as a 
stranger ? ' And yet he prays. Seek him by prayer. 

2. Seek him in his ordinances. Hear the ^Yord of God. ' Thy face, 
Lord, will I seek,' Ps. xxvii. 8. God invites you to seek his face now by 
fasting and humihation. Seek his face in this ordinance. Here is the 
blessed Trinity, ' Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.' Though outwardly God 
hide his face iu some regards, yet when he offers outward liberties refuse 
them not. He offers his face to us now in Christ. Seek, by prayer and 
other means, holy communion with him still ; and never leave seeking till 
you have got a glance of him ; and stir up yourselves to lay hold on him, 
that he would shew his loving countenance upon you. 

Those that turn their backs on God's ordinances, and in rebellion to his 
commandments, live in sins against conscience — can they wonder that he 
hides his face from them, when they turn their backs on him ? Rebellious 
persons, that will not yield meekly to God's ordinances, and submit to his 
commandments, do they wonder that God takes good things from them ? 
When we sin we turn our backs upon God and our face to the devil, and the 
world, and pleasures. When men turn their faces to sin, to pleasures and 
vanity, and their backs on God, do they wonder that he suffers them to 
melt and pine away ? Let us do as the flowers do, the marigold, &c. They 
turn themselves to the sun. Let our souls do so. Let us turn ourselves 
to God in meditation and prayers, striving and wrestling with him. Look 
to him, eye him in his ordinances and promises ; and have communion 
with him all the ways we can. Let our souls open and shut with him. 
When he hides his face, let us droop, as the flowers do till the sun come 
again. When the waters fall, the flowers droop and hold down their heads. 
When the sun riseth the next morning, up they go again, as if there had 
been never a shower. So when we have not daily comfort of spirit in 
peace of conscience, let us never rest seeking God's face in his ordinances 
and by prayer, and that will cheer a drooping soul, as the sunbeams do the 
flagging flowers. Then you may know that God's face shines upon you in 
some measure, when he gives you means and gives you hearts to use those 
means, and comfort in your consciences, that whether you live or die you 
are God's. This is a beam of that sunshine on the soul when God vouch- 
safes joy and comfort. A little of this will banish all fears. If you have 
one glimpse of his countenance, you shall not need to fear the plague, or 
war, or death. If he shine on you, one glance will take away all fear. 
Paul, when he was in the stocks, one beam of God's countenance made him 
sing at midnight. Acts xvi. 25. ' Let thy countenance shine on us, and we 
shall be safe,' Ps. Ixxx. 3, let what will become of us outwardly. If God 
shine not on us for outward favours, if he shine on our souls and release 
them from fears and guilt, and speak peace to them, and say unto them, 
' he is their salvation,' Ps. xxxv. 3, and as he saith in the gospel, ' Thy 
sins are forgiven thee,' all will be well whatsoever shall become of us. 

202 THE church's complaint and confidence. 

* Let us seek the Lord while he may be found,' Isa. Iv. 6. Hold him before 
he go ; let him not depart. Attend upon the means ; never miss good 
means of seeking his face till we have got a sweet answer from heaven that 
he is our God. 

Now follows the supplication. 

' But now, Lord, thou art our Father,' &c. 

Here is a praj'er which is a kind of holding God by the relation of a 
Father. This is one way of stirring up our souls, to consider the relation 
of a father. It stirs up bowels when a child is beaten by his father, ' 
stay, father, spare.' It works upon the bowels. There is a world of rhe- 
toric in this one word ' Father.' Why, Lord, thou art my Father. Shall 
I be destroyed ? Let us lay hold on God by this relation that he puts 
upon himself; and he will not lay it aside, though we be unworthy to be 
sons. He doth not say, Thou art our Father, and we are thy sous ; because 
he thought they were unworthy, as the prodigal saith, ' I am unworthy to 
be called thy son,' Luke xv. 19 ; but instead of saying we are thy sons, he 
saith, ' We are the clay, thou art the potter.' Yet he is a Father conti- 
nually ; and though in Christ you cannot call him Father, yet you may by 
creation and initiation, being brought up in the church. Go to him with 
the encouragements you have, and cast j-ourselves upon him.- There is a 
bond for you by creation ; and there is his command. He bids you call 
him Father. He is a Father by creation. Look not upon this or that sin, 
but go to him and call him Father, as you may call him. Say, Thou art 
my Father, thou hast given me a being in the church. Wrestle with him 
as you may, though as sound Christians you cannot call him Father. Be 
weary of your courses. Are you willing to come under God's hands, to be 
sons ? You are sons by creation already. Offer thyself to be of his family 
for the time to come, and God will give a sweet report to thy soul. Stand 
not out at the stave's end. ' Thou art our Father, Lord.' If you have a 
purpose to live in sin, the devil is your father, and not God. ' You are of 
your father the devil,' John viii. 44 ; but if we be willing to submit, we may 
say, ' Doubtless thou art our Father,' Isa. Ixiii. 16, 

' We are the clay, thou art the potter.' 

Here is a resignation of themselves to God in this term, ' thou art the 
potter, we are the clay.' Indeed, we are but earthen vessels, the best of us, 
in regard of the bodily life we have ; and we are at the liberty of God to 
dispose of as he pleaseth. So, before he comes to put forth this prayer to 
God, he useth this resignation of themselves into the hand of God : we are 
as clay in thy hands. Lord, ' dispose of us as thou wilt.' Let us remember 
this when we come to pray to God. Use all means of abasement that can 
be. Jjaj aside all terms other than abasing terms. ' We are the clay,' 
Isa. Ixiv. 8 ; and as Job saith, ' I abhor myself in dust and ashes,' Job 
xlii. 6. So the saints have done in all times. * I am not worthy to be 
called thy son,' Luke xv. 19 ; and ' I am less than the least of thy mercies,' 
Gen. xxxii. 10. Let us lay aside proud and lofty terms, and ' cast down 
our crowns' at the foot of Christ, as the saints in Rev. iv. 10, cast down 
all our excellencies. Let us have no thought of outward excellencies — of 
beauty, or strength, or riches, or high dignity. When we come to God, we 
must come with low thoughts to the high God. Can the creature be too 
low in his presence ? 

And then come with resignation. ' We are the clay, thou art the potter.' 
Do with us as thou wilt. If thou dash us in pieces as a potter's vessel, 
thou mayest do it. That is the way to escape. That is well committed, 


that is committed into God's hand. Some men shift by their wits, and will 
not trust God with their health and strength. They ' be double-minded,' 
as St James saith, i. 8. They will have two strings to their bow ; if law- 
ful means will not serve, unlawful shall. No. But we * must commit our- 
selves to God as to a faithful creator,' 1 Pet. iv. 19 ; and then see what he 
will do. Then it stands with his honour. ' He will look to the lowly.' 
' I am the clay, thou art the potter.' Here I am ; do as thou wilt. As 
David saith, it is a blessed estate thus to resign ourselves into God's hands. 
If the devil and reprobates could be brought to this, they should never come 
there where they are in terrors of conscience. Let us labour to practise 
this duty : Lord, I commit to thy hands my body and soul. I cast myself 
into thy bosom ; do with me as thou wilt. Some that have stood out at 
the stave's end with temptations many j^ears, have gotten comfort by this 
resignation. ' We are the clay, thou art the potter.' Thou mayest mould 
and break us as thou wilt. The way now to escape the plague is not alto- 
gether to use tricks of wit and policy (though lawful means must be used), 
but labour to get into Christ, and resign ourselves into God's hands abso- 
lutely, and say thus, ' We are the clay,' &c. Lord, thou mayest dash us 
if thou wilt, as thou doest many hundreds weekly. Thou mayest dash us 
in that fashion if thou wilt. Only we may have a desire that God would 
make our lives and health precious to him, that we may serve him as if we 
were now in heaven, and that we may have grace to make good use of all. 
But if God have determined and decreed to take us away, let us resign our- 
selves into his hands. It is no matter though the body be ' sown in dis- 
honour, they shall be raised in honour,' 1 Cor. xv. 43. ' We are the clay, 
he is the potter,' let him do what he will with our carcases and bodies, 
so he be merciful to our souls. These vessels of clay, when they are 
turned to earth, they shall be renewed of better stuff, like the glorious body 
of Christ. Then our souls and bodies shall be glorious by him that took a 
piece of flesh and clay for us. Oh the humility of Christ ! We wonder 
that the soul should animate a piece of clay, so excellent a thing as the 
soul is ; much more may we wonder that the Son of God should take a 
piece of flesh and clay upon him ; to take our nature of base earth, to make 
us eternally glorious as himself. Let it comfort us, though God dash our 
clay as a potter. Yet Christ, that took our clay to the unity of his person, 
our nature being engrafted into him, he will make our bodies eternal and 
everlasting as his own glorious body. Let us resign ourselves into God's 
hands, as the church here, ' Thou art the potter, and we are the clay,' and 
then we shall never miscarry. 


(a) P. 190. — ' Wlio would go to the pest-house, or to one that hath " Lord, have 
mercy upon us," on the door?' The allusion is to the marks placed upon the ' pest- 
houbcs,' and the dwellings of those sick during the plague in London — a visitation 
very often and very solemnly referred to by Sibbes, who twice witnessed its devasta- 
tion — viz., in 1603-4, and the subsequent one of 1624-5. Having died in 1635, he 
did not pass through the ' Pestilence' of 1630. 

(6) P. 200.- — ' " We melt away," ... as the word is.' Dr Joseph Addison Alexander 
renders the phrase, ' For thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast melted us, because 
of (or by means of) our iniquities.' It will generally be found that Sibbes's critical 
remarks harmonise with the results of the highest modern scholarship. Cf. Note c, 
Vol. I. page 31. G. 




' God's Inquisition' forms part of the ' Beams of Divine Light' (4to, 1639). The 
separate title-page is below.* For general title of the volume, see Vol. V. page 220. 




In two Sermons 

By the late Keverend and Learned 

Divine Richard Sibs, 

Doctor in Divinity, Master of Katherine Hall in 

Cambridge, and sometimes Preaclier at 

Graves Inne. 

Gen. 18. 21. 
1 ivill goc doxone now and see whether they have done altogether accor- 
ding to the cry of it, which is come unto me ; and if not, I ivill knoio. 

PSAL. 14. 3. 
They are all gone aside, they are altogether hecome filthy, there is none 
that doth good no not one. 

[A wood-cut here of an angel, surrounded with a glory, leaning upon a cross ; his 
right hand holding an open Bible, and liis feet trampling upon the usual skeleton- 
representation of death.] 


Printed by G. M. for Nicholas Bourne and Rapha Harford. 


I hearkened and heard, hit theij sjjake not arir/ht: no man repented him of his 
tvickedness, saying, What have I done ? everyone turned to liis course, as 
the horse riisheih into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heavens knoweth her 
appointed times; and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the 
time of their coming; but my j^eople know not the judgment of the Lord. — 
Jer. ViII. 6, 7. 

Upon the sins of people it hatli been alway God's course to send his pro- 
phets to warn them beforehand, and afterwards, upon that, to observe how 
they profit by that warning ; and thereupon he takes occasion to proceed 
answerably. God usually exerciseth a great deal of patience ere he strikes. 
He made the world in six days, but he is six thousand years in destroy- 
ing it. 

In this verse, after the holy prophet had menaced the judgment of God 
upon them, there is set down what use they made of it. Alas ! ' They 
spake not aright : no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What 
have I done ? ' And lest they should object. How do you know this ? He 
saith here it is upon inquisition, ' I hearkened and heard.' So the words 
contain God's inquisition or inquiry, and then God's evidence upon that 
inquiry, together with a complaint. His inquiry, ' I hearkened and heard.' 
For we must apply these words to God. There is the same phrase, Mai. 
iii. 16, ' The Lord hearkened, and heard ; and a book of remembrance 
was written before him ; ' so here, ' I hearkened and heard.' Here is the 

Then, secondly, the evidence upon the inquiry, ' they spake not aright.' 
And, thirdly, the complaint upon that evidence set down. 

1. First, Positively, ' They repented not of their wickedness,' which is 
amplified, 1. From the generality of this their impenitency, 'No man 
repented him;' and 2. From the cause of it: want of consideration. 
They did not say, ' What have I done ? ' If they had called themselves 
to account concerning what they had done, certainly they would have 

2. Comparatively, * They turned to their course, as the horse rusheth 
into the battle.' 

3. Lastly, Superlatively, preferring the skill of the poor storks and cranes, 
and the turtle and swallow, before the judgment of his senseless and stupid 

208 god's inquisition. 

people : * The stork in the licavons knoweth hex* appointed time ; and the 
turtle, the crane, and the swallow ; but my people know not the judgment 
of the Lord.' This is the sum of the words. 

1. First, Of God's inquiry, 'I hearkened and heard.' Ere Sodom wa3 
destroyed, the Lord came down to see whether there was just cause or 
no. Gen. xviii. 21. God is most just. He will see cause for his judgments. 
He hath no delight in punishing. When he judgeth, it is not out of his 
sovereignty, but out of his justice. He doth it not as a sovereign Lord, 
but as a just judge. Now, a judge must do all upon inquisition and evi- 
dence ; therefore saith he, ' I hearkened and heard : ' where, by the way, 
the gods of the earth, to whom he hath communicated his name, should 
learn hence, not to be rash in their judgments, but to have sound evidence 
before they pass sentence. 'I hearkened and heai'd.' To 'hearken' is 
more than to hear: to apply one's self with some affection to hear a thing. 

God is all car, as he is all eye. He hath an ear everywhere. He hath 
an ear in our hearts. He hears what wo think, what we desire. He sees 
all the secret corners of our hearts. Therefore, when he saith here, ' I 
hearkened and heard,' it is by way of condescending to our capacity. 

We may learn hence, briefly, that God hath an ear and an eye to our 
carriage and dispositions, to our speeches and courses. If we had one alway 
at our backs that would inform such a man and such a man what we say, 
cue that should book our words, and after lay them to our charge, it would 
make us careful of our words. Now, though we be never so much alone, 
there are two always that hear us. God hearkens and hears, and God's 
deputy in us, conscience, ' hearkens and hears.' God books it, and con- 
science books it. As God hath a book wherein he wrote us before all 
worlds, and the book of his providence for our bones, and all things that 
concern us, so he hath a book for our works and words. Mai. iii. 16, 
' They that feared the Lord spake often one to another ; and the Lord 
hearkened, and heard it ; and a book of remembrance was written before 
him,' &c. So here, 'I hearkened and heard.' God and conscience not© 
and observe everything. 

This doth impose upon us the duty of careful and reverent walking with 
God. Would we speak carelessly or ill of any man if he heard us ? 
When we slight a man, we say v/e care not if ho heard us himself. But 
shall we slight God so ? Shall we swear, and lie, and blaspheme, and say 
we care not though God hear us, that will lay everything to our charge, 
not only words but thoughts. ' We shall give an account for every idle 
word, and for every idle thought,' Mat. xii. 36, and shall we not regard it? 
It is from the horrible profaneness of the poisonful, rebellious heart of man, 
that men do not consider these things. ' God hearkens and hears.' He is 
at our studies ; he is at our windows ; he hears us in our chambers, when 
we are in company, when we meet together, when we take liberty to 
censure and detract, when we swear and revile. What if men hear not ! 
yet conscience hears, and God hears. And when God shall lay open the 
book of conscience, and lay before a man all his naughty* speeches and 
wicked works, what will become of him then for not making use of this 
principle, that ' God hearkens and hears ' ? God sees now with what minds 
and affections we come about this business, whether it be formally to put 
off God, to make it a cover for our sinful courses after, as if God were 
beholding to us for what we do now, and therefore might the better bear 
* That is, ' wicked.'— G. 



with us, though we make bold with him hereafter. He not only hears what 
we say, but sees our minds and purposes, nay, he ' knows our thoughts 
long before they are.' This is the cause why godly men have alway walked 
so carefully and circumspectly. They knew that God's eye and ear was 
over them ; as Enoch and Noah, it is said in this regard that they ' walked 
with God,' Gen. v. 2-1, vi. 9 ; and Joseph when he was tempted, ' Shall I 
do this,' saith he, ' and sin against God '?' Gen. xxxix. 9 ; and shall not 
God see if I do this ? ' Doth not he see my ways and count all my steps,' 
saith Job, Job. xiv. IG. So again, What makes wicked men so loose ? 
The prophet tells, Ps. xciv. 7> they say, ' The Lord shall not see, neither 
shall the God of Jacob regard it.' Or as it is. Job xxii. 12, &c., ' Is not 
God in the height of heaven ? How doth God Icnow '? can he judge through 
the dark cloud ? Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he sees not ; 
and he walketh not in the circuit of the heavens.' Tush ! he regardeth 
not ; he is immured and shut up there. But to such atheists we see what 
the prophet answers, Ps. Ixiv. 8, &c. Ye brutish, foolish people, shall he 
that makes others hear not hear himself? ' He that planted the ear,' he 
that is all ear, ' shall not he hear ? ' As it makes good men walk hohly 
and reverently, to consider of this, that God is present, and present as an 
observer and a judge, so the want of taking this to heart makes wicked 
and carnal persons do as they do. So much briefly for these words, ' I 
hearkened and heard.' 

' No man spake aright.' 

But what evidence doth he give upon this inquisition ? _ ' They spake 
not aright,' which is amplified from the generality of this sin. 'No man 
spake aright.' The meaning is especially that * they spake not aright con- 
cerning the judgments of God threatened.' When God had threatened 
judgments, he hearkened and heard what use they made of them, but ' they 
spake not aright.' 

Quest. In how many respects do we not speak aright in regard of the 
judgments of God ? 

Ans. 1. First, In m/ard of God, men speak not aright when they do 
not see him in the judgment, but look to the creature, to the second 
causes ; as now in the time of the plague, to look to the air and weather, 
and this and that, which is a good providence, and to forget him that is 
the chief ; to kill dogs and cats, and to let sin alone ; to cry out. Oh what 
air there is this year ! and what weather it is ! to talk of the second causes 
altogether, and to forget God : this is to talk amiss of God's judgments 
threatened, in regard of God. . 

2. Again, We talk amiss in regard of others, when we begm to slight 
them in our thoughts and speeches. Oh they were careless people; they 
adventured into company, and it was the carelessness of the magistrates ; 
they were not well looked to ; they were unmerciful persons, &c. Is it not 
God's hand ? Put case there might be some oversight ; art thou secure 
from God's arrow? He that struck them, may he not strike thee ? This 
is to talk amiss of the judgment of God in regard of others ; when we think 
that God hath singled them out as sinners above the rest ; as the disciples 
thought of the Galileans, ' whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifice,' 
Luke xiii. 1. No, no, saith he; ' think not they were greater sinners than 
the rest ; ' do not add your bitter censure of the judgment of God on them, 
and make it heavier (there is a woe to such persons as add afflictions to 
the afflicted, Prov. xx. 22, Phil. i. 16) : ' Except ye repent, ye shall all 

VOL. VI. ° 

210 god's inquisition. 

likewise perish,' Is not the ripest corn cut first ? God ofttimes takes 
those away that are fittest for him, and leaves others to the cruelty of men. 
Therefore hy this rash judgment there may be great wrong to men, and 
to wrong men in our censures, it is to talk amiss of God's judgments in 
regard of others. 

3. Again, We talk amiss of God's judgments in regard of ourselves. 

(1.) When ice murmur and fret any way against God, and do not submit 
ourselves under his mighty hand as we should. 

(2.) Again, We sin against the judgments of God abroad, when we take 
liberty to inquire of the judrjments of God abroad, and never make use of 
them ; as now to be asking what number die of the plague weekly, and our 
hearts tremble not at it, we lift not up our hearts to God, ' God be merci- 
ful to us,' ' Lord forgive our sins,' * What will become of us ?' We had 
need to make our accounts even. This is to talk amiss of God's judg- 
ments. It is a vein that men have naturally, to inquire after news of all 
sorts, be it the sharpest and bitterest that may be ; though it be the 
destruction, and ruin, and death of other men ; whatsoever it be they 
desire to hear it, if news. In the mean time there is no care to make use of 
it, which is directly that for which these men here are said to have talked 
amiss, * No man spake aright.' Why ? ' No man repented him of his 
wickedness,' &c., as we shall see afterwards. We should talk of the judg- 
ments of God to be bettered by them. We should * learn righteousness 
when the judgments of God are abroad,' Isa. xxvi. 9, and the arrows that 
wound others we should make warning arrows to ourselves. Now when we 
triflingly only inquire of these things, and are not moved ourselves, we talk 
amiss of God's judgments. 

Use. Let us labour to talk of the judgments of God, when they are abroad, 
as we should. In regard of God, to raise our hearts above all second causes, 
to see him in it. It is the hand of God, as the Scripture calls the plague, 
whatsoever the second causes are, whether it be the air, and the devil 
mingling himself ofttimes to corrupt the air, all is by God's permission and 
providence. We should look to the first wheel that leads the rest and sets 
them going. We should see God in all, and therefore speak reverently of 
him. And in regard of our brethren, to speak charitably of them, and 
think, it is the goodness of God that he hath not stricken us as he hath 
them. And when we speak of ourselves, when the judgments of God are 
on us, let us humble ourselves and justify God. We may complain, but it 
must be of ourselves and of our sins, that have brought judgments upon us, 
of our want of making use of the judgment of God upon others or upon 
ourselves. Lesser judgments would not serve turn ; therefore God is fain 
to follow us with greater. Let us alway justify God and complain of our- 
selves, and then in regard of ourselves we ' speak aright' of the judgments 
of God. Let us never speak of the judgments of God but with afiectiong 
fit for judgments, with awful affections. ' Shall the lion roar, and shall not 
the beasts of the forest tremble ?' Hos. si. 10. Shall we hear God roar in 
his judgments, ' and hear the trumpet blown,' and not be affected ? We 
see here how God complains, that when * he hearkened and heard, they 
spake not aright.' Let us therefore make conscience of all our words. 
We shall, if not now, yet at the day of judgment, ' give account for every 
idle word,' Mat. xii. 3G, for every cruel word, as it is in the prophecy of 
Enoch, cited in the Epistle of Jude. But especially let us take heed of 
our words when we speak of God's judgments ; for it is the not speaking 
aright of them that is here especially meant. ' I hearkened and heard, but 

god's inquisition. 211 

they spake not aright.' So much for the evidence. Come we now to the 
next clause, God's complaint upon this evidence. 

* No man repented him of his wickedness.' 

They did not repent of their wickedness, and the fault was general : ' No 
man repented.' The first yields this instruction, 

Doct. That it is a state much offending God, not to repent when his judg- 
ments are threatened, 

God will not suffer it long unpunished, to be impenitent when his judg- 
ments are abroad and threatened, much more when they have already seized* 
upon our brethren. For that is the end of all his judgments, to draw us 
near to him, to draw us out of the world, and out of our sinful courses. 
When therefore we answer not, God must take another course. What is 
the plague and other judgments but so many messengers sent to every one 
of us to knock? And our answer must be, ' Lord, I will repent of my evil 
ways,' ' I will turn from my evil courses and turn to thee.' If we give this 
answer, God will take away his judgments, or sanctify them, and that is 
better ; but when there is no answer, the messenger will not be gone ; God 
will add plagues upon plagues till we give our answer, till we repent and 
turn from our wicked ways. 

Now that we may do this, we must be convinced thoroughly that the 
courses we live in are unprofitable, dangerous, hateful courses, and that 
the contrary state is better. For repentance is an after-wit, f and man being 
a reasonable creature, will turnj from his way except he see great reason why. 
Therefore there must be sound conviction that ' it is a bitter thing to offend 
God,' Jer. ii. 19. We must indeed be convinced by the Sjjirit of God; 
and the Spirit of God usually takes the benefit of affliction, affliction 
together with instruction. Instruction without affliction will do little good. 
Stripes and the word must go together, else we will not give God the hear- 
ing as we should. Therefore that we may be soundly convinced of our 
sins, we should desire God, especially in the hour of affliction, to help our 
souls by his Spirit, that we may be convinced that our courses are naught, 
that they are courses dishonourable to God and dangerous to ourselves ; 
that sin defiles our souls ; that it hinders our communion with God, which 
is the sweetest thing in the world ; that sin puts a sting into all our troubles ; 
that sin makes us afraid of that that should be comfortable to us, of death 
and judgment, and God's presence ; that sin grieves the good Spirit of God, 
that would take up his lodging in us ; that it quencheth the motions of the 
Spirit, that are sent as sweet messengers to us, to allure and comfort us ; 
that sin grieves the good Spirit of God in others ; that it grieves the good 
angels that are about us ; that it gratifies none but the devil, the enemy of 
our salvation ; that it defiles and stains our souls, wherein the image of God 
should shine ; that it doth us more harm than all the things in the world 
besides — indeed, nothing hurts us but sin, because nothing but sin sepa- 
rates us from God ; that it shuts heaven and opens hell, and so makes us 
afraid of death, lest death should open the gate to let us into hell ; in a 
word, that it hinders all good, and is the cause of all ill. Let us consider 
of this, and work it on our hearts. 

And consider withal our former courses, rip up our lives from our child- 
hood, consider the sins of our youth, together with our present sins, that so 
we may the better stir up and awaken our consciences. Let us consider 

* Spelled ' ceazed.' — G. X Q,^- ' 'will not turn ' ? — Ed. 

t That is, ' after-thought.'— G. 

212 god's inquisition. 

whether -we are now in a state wherein we could be content that God should 
send his judgments upon us. Consider how we have been scandalous--i= to 
others, how we have drawn others to sin, that the guilt of other men's sins 
will lie upon us. It may be we have repented, but have they ? Consider 
the repetition of our sins, if we have not committed them again and again, 
and other circumstances that may aggravate them. Let us labour to work 
these things on our hearts, and desire the Spirit of God to convince our 
souls of the foulness and dangerousness of sin. When we sin against con- 
science, what do we but set the devil in the place of God? We make our- 
selves wiser than God. 'We leave God's ways, as if we could find better 
and more profitable and more gainful courses than his. Sound conviction 
of this will move us to repentance. 

And let us be stirred up to repent presently. Doth not God now warn 
you ? Is it not dangerous living one hour in a state that we would not die 
in ? May not God justly strike us on the sudden ? Do but purpose to 
live in sin one quarter of an hour ; may we not be taken away in that 
quarter ? Is not repentance the gift of God, and are not gifts given 
according to the good pleasure of the giver ? Wait therefore for the gales 
of grace, and take them when they are ofiered. Grace is not like the tide, 
that ebbs and flows, that we know when it will come again when we see it 
go. No. God gives the gales of grace according to his good pleasure ; 
therefore take the advantage of the present motions of the blessed Spirit. 

The longer we live in any sin unrepented of, the more our hearts will be 
hardened ; the more Satan takes advantage against us, the more hardly he 
is driven out of his old possession, the more just it may be with God to 
give us up from one sin to another. The understanding will be more dark 
upon every repetition of sin, and conscience will be more dulled and 
deaded. Those that are young, therefore, let them take the advantage of 
the youth, and strength, and freshness of their years to serve God. That 
which is blasted in the bud, what fruit may we look for from it afterwards ? 
Alas ! when we see the younger sort given to blaspheme and swear, to loose- 
ness and licentiousness, what old age may we look for there ? Again, 
what welcome shall we expect, when we have sacrificed the best of our 
strength and the marrow of our years to our lusts, to bring our old age to 
God ? Can this be any other than self-love ? Such late repentance is 
seldom sound. It comes, I say, from self-love, and not from any change 
of heart. As in the humility of wretched persons, a little before the judge 
comes, though they have carried themselves as rebels before, yet then they 
will humble themselves, not out of any hatred to their courses, but out of 
fear of the judge. So it may be now thou art arraigned by God's judg- 
ments!; ^^°^ forsakest thy sinful courses, not out of the hatred of thy sins — 
for if thou couldst thou wouldst sin eternally, and that is the reason sinners 
are punished eternally, because they would sin everlastingly— but thou 
seest thou art in danger to be pulled away by God's judgments. It is not 
out of love to grace, it is not from any change of nature that thou desirest 
to be a new creature, that thou admirest grace to be the best state, but it is 
to avoid danger ; not that thou carest for the face of God, to be reconciled 
to him, but to avoid the present judgment. 

And what a staggering will this be to conscience, when a man shall defer 

his repentance till God's judgments seize upon him ! We see it is false 

for the most part, because such persons that are then humbled, when they 

recover they are as bad or worse than ever they were. Therefore an 

* That is, ' stumblingblocks.' — G. 

god's inquisition. 213 

ancient saith well, * He that is good only under the cross is never 
good ' (ft). It comes not from any change that God works, but merely 
from self-love. Therefore presently let us repent of those ways that God 
convinceth our conscience to bo evil ways ; God may strike us suddenly. 
Those that forget God, and care not for him now, it may be just with God 
to make them forget themselves, to strike them with frenzy, to take away 
the use of their memories then ; and when sickness comes we shall have 
enough to do to conflict with sickness, we shall have enough to do to answer 
the doubts of conscience. Oh, it would upbraid them ! We shall think it 
a hard matter then to have favour from God, whose worship we have 
despised, the motions of whose Spirit we have neglected and resisted. Con- 
science, after long hardening in sin, will hardly admit of comfort. It is a 
harder matter than it is taken for. Therefore, even to-day, presently, you 
that are young, now in the days of your youth, now in the spring of your 
years, repent you of your sins before old age comes, which indeed, as Solo- 
mon describes it, ' is an ill time' to repent in, Eccles. xii, 1. Alas ! then 
a man can hardly perform civil duties ; as we see in Barzillai, he complains 
that in his old age he could not take the comfort of the creatures, 2 Sam. 
xix. 32, seq. Therefore put not off this duty till then. And all, both 
young and old, now when the judgments of God are abroad in the world, 
take the advantage]; return to God, renew your covenants, make your peace 
now. Now this danger doth warm our hearts a little, let us strike the iron 
now while it is hot ; let us take the advantage of the Spirit now awakening 
us with this danger. Our hearts are so false and so dull, we have need to 
take all advantages of withdrawing ourselves from our shiful courses. 

And to encourage us to do it, let us consider, if we do this, and do it in time, 
we shall have the sweetness of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts. 

You will say, We shall lose the sweetness of sin ; ay, but 

1 . You shall have a most sweet communion with God. One day of a repentant 
sinner, that is reconciled to God, is more comfortable than a thousand years 
of another man that is in continual fear of death and judgment. Oh, the 
sweet life of a Christian that hath made his peace with God ! He is fit 
for all conditions : for life, for death, for everything. Now by thiswe shall 
have this grace and favour of God. The Lord will say unto us by his Spirit, 
' I am your salvation,' Ps. xxxv. 3. And besides, you shall have his grace 
renewing and altering and changing you, framing you to a better course of 
life. And he will be so far from misliking any for their former sins, that 
he will give them cause to love him the more, as we see Luke vii. 47, 
' She loved much, because she had much forgiven her.' Christ, we see, 
upbraided not any of his followers with their former sins. He regarded not 
what they had been formerly • Zaccheus the extortioner, Mary Magdalene, 
Matthew the publican, Peter that denied him. We never hear that he 
upbraided any of them. He doth not only vouchsafe mercy to Peter 
repenting, but advanceth him to his former office apostolical. So sweet a 
God have we to deal with ! Let this encourage us. 

2. Again, It is the way to jirevent GocVs judgments, as we see in Nineveh 
and others. Put case we repent not : we cannot go safe in the city nor any- 
where, but God may meet with us, and strike us with his arrow. The 
only way to prevent his judgments is to meet him speedily by repentance. 
This is the way, not only to turn away the wrath of God concerning eternal 
damnation, but outward judgments, as we see Joel ii. 12, seq., and many 
other places. 

3. Then again, should we be stricken, if we have made our peace with God, 



if we have repented, all shall be urlcome, all shall he turned to our good. 
We know the sting is pulled out. If the sting of death be pulled out, if 
the malignity and poison of any sickness, be it the plague or whatsoever, 
be pulled out, why should we fear it ? It comes in love, and shall be turned 
to our good ; and in the mean time God sweetens it. Here is a grand dif- 
ference between the children of God and others. If the judgment of God 
light upon a repentant person, it comes from favour and love, to correct 
him for his former sins. It is turned to good, and in the mean time it is 
sweetened with love, and mixed with comfort, and modei'ated, as it is Isa. 
sxvii. 7, ' Hath he afflicted thee as I afflicted others ?' No. He moderates 
his judgments to his children ; and not only moderates them, but sweetens 
them with comfort. If God do cox'rect a repentant person, he is no loser 
by it, nay, he is a gainer. ' It is good for me that I have been afflicted,' 
Ps. cxix. 67. Oh the blessed estate of that person that repents and turns 
from his evil ways ! But if a man do not repent, but live still in sin, what 
a state is he in ! God cares not for his pmijers. ' If I regard iniquity in 
my heart, God will not hear my prayers,' Ps. Ixvi. 18. And what a state 
is a man in, when his prayers, that should beg for blessings, and avoid 
judgments, and procure deliverance, are not heard, ' but shall be turned 
into sin !' When God, that is ' a God hearing prayer,' shall not regard 
his prayer, what a case is this ! Yet if we regard iniquity in our hearts, 
if we repent not of our sins, God will not regard our prayers. 

Then, besides that, there is a noise of fear in the unrepentant person'' s heart. 
Wheresoever he goes, he is afraid of the plague, afraid of sickness, afraid of 
death, afraid of everybody. He knows he hath his heaven here : he hath not 
the sting of evils pulled out, therefore he is afraid he shall go from the terrors 
of conscience to the torments of hell. His conscience speaks terrible things 
to him. What a cursed state is this ? How can he look with comfort any 
way ? If he look to heaven, God is ready to pour the vials of his wrath, to 
execute his vengeance on him. If he look to the earth, he knows not how 
soon he shall be laid there, or that the earth may swallow him up. If he 
think of death, it strikes terror to him. Everything is uncomfortable to an 
unrepentant sinner. Let all this stir us up to this duty of repentance. 
It is the end why God sends his judgments. First, he warns us by his 
word. And if we neglect that, he sends judgments, and they seize on us. 
That is a second warning. And if lesser judgments will not warn us, then he 
sends greater, and all to make us repent. If we repent, we give the judg- 
ments their answer, and he will either remove them or sanctity them. So 
much for that. A word of the generality. 

' No man.' 

' No man repented of his evil ways.' We see, then, 

Doct. That (jenerality is no jilea. 

' We must not follow a multitude to do evil,' Exod. xxiii. 2. We must 
not follow the stream, to do as the world doth. Will any man reason thus ? 
Now there die so many weekly of the plague. It is no matter whither I 
go. I will go now into any jjlace, without any respect to my company, &c. 
Will he not reason, on the contrary, Therefore I will take heed, I will 
carry preservatives about me, and look to my company ? Self-love will 
teach a man to reason so. The infection is great, therefore I will take the 
more heed. And will not spiritual wisdom teach us, the more spreading and 
infectious sin is, the more heed to take ? ' When all flesh had corrupted 
their way, then came the flood,' Gen. vi. 12. Generality of sin makes way 


for sweeping judgments that takes all away. Therefore we have more 
reason to tremble when the infection of sin hath seized upon all, when 
' no man repents of his wickedness.' A man should resolve, Surely I will 
come out of such company, as we see Lot departed out of Sodom, and David 
in his time 'was as a pelican in the wilderness,' Ps. cii. 6. I will rather 
go to heaven alone, than go to hell and be damned with a multitude. Mul- 
titude is no plea to a wise man. Shall we think it a means to increase 
danger m worldly things ? and shall we think it a plea in spiritual things '> 
It hath been the commendation of God's children, that they have striven 
against the stream and been good in evil times. ' Kedeem the time be- 
cause the days are evil,' saith the apostle, Eph. v. 16. A carnal Christian 
saith. Do as the rest do ; but saith David, ' Mine eyes gush out with rivers 
of waters, because men keep not thy law,' Ps. cxix. 136. Do not fear that 
you shall pass unrespected if you be careful to look to yourselves this way. 
If there be but one Lot in Sodom, one Noah and his family in the old world* 
he shall be looked to as a jewel among much dross. God will s'mcrle him 
out as a man doth his jewels, when the rubbish is burnt. God wilfhave a 
special care to gather his jewels. When a man makes conscience of his 
ways in ill times and ill company, God regards him the more for witnessing 
to his truth and standing for and owning his cause in ill times. It shews 
sincerity and strength of grace, when a man is not tainted with the common 
corruptions. ' No man repented.' 

What was the cause of all this, that they were thus unrepentant, and 
that generally ' no man said,' 

' What have I done ?' 

They did not say in their hearts and tongues, ' What have I done ?' 
They were inconsiderate, they did not examine, and search, and try their 
ways. Here we see. 

First, That a man can return upon himself; he can search and try his 
own ways, and cite, and arrest, and arraign himself, ' What have I done *>' 
This IS a prerogative that God hath given to the understanding creature. 
The reasonable soul, it can reflect upon itself, which is an act of judgment. 
The brute creatures look forward to present objects ; they are carried to 
present things, and cannot reflect. But man hath judgment to know 
what he hath done and spoken, to sit upon his own doings, to jud^^e 
of his own actions. God hath erected a tribunal in every man ; he hath 
set up conscience for a register, and witness, and judge, &c. There are 
all the parts of judicial proceeding in the soul of man. This shews the 
dignity of man ; and considering that God hath set up a throne and seat 
of judgment in the heart, we should labour to exercise this jud-^ment. 

Secondly, God having given man this excellent prerogative to°cite himself 
and to judge his own courses, lohen man doth not this, it is the cause of all 
mischief, of all sin and misery. Alas ! the vile heart of man is proiie to 
thmk, it may be God hath decreed my damnation, and he might make me 
better if he would. But why dost thou speak thus ? wicked man, the 
fault is in thyself, because thou dost not what thou mightst do. Hath not 
God set up a judgment-seat in thy heart, to deliberate of thine own courses 
whether thou dost well or ill? And thy own conscience, if thou be not an 
atheist and besotted, tells thee thou dost ill, and accuseth thee for it. An 
ordmary swearer, that by atheistical acquaintance and poisonful breeding is 
accustomed to that sin, if he did consider. What good shall I get by this ? 
by provoking God, who hath threatened that I shall not go guiltless, and 

216 god's inquisition. 

that ' I shall give an account for every idle word,' much more of every idle 
oath ? the consideration of this would make him judge and condemn 
himself, and repent and amend his ways. 

Tkirdtij. The exercising of this judgment, it makes a mans life lightsome. 
He knows who he is and whither he goes. It makes him able to answer 
for what he doth at the judgment-seat of God. It makes him do what he 
doth in confidence, it perfects the soul every way. 

Fourthijj, Again, Whatsoever we do without this consideration, it is not 
put upon our account for comfort. When we do things upon judgment, it 
is with examination whether it be according to the rule or no. Our service 
of God is especially in our affections, when we joy, and fear, and delight 
aright. Now how can a man do this without consideration ? For the 
affections, wheresoever they are ordinate and good, they are raised up by 
judgment. They are never good but when they are regular and according 
to judgment. When judgment raiseth up the affections, and we see cause 
why we should delight in God, and love him and fear him more than any- 
thing in the world, they are then an effectual part of divine worship ; but 
else they are flat, and dead, and dull, if we waken them not with considera- 
tion. The heart follows the judgment. The brain and the heart sympathise, 
when we see cause and reason to love, and fear, and worship God. We 
must * love God with all our mind,' that is, with our best understanding. 
We must see reason why we do so. 

Therefore let us labour to use our understanding more this way. Is our 
UHderstanding and judgment given us to plot for the world, to be judicious 
for the things of this Hfe only ? No ; but to be wise for the main end, 
to glorify God, to save our souls, to get out of the corruption of nature, 
to maintain our communion with God every day more and more. The end 
of our living in the world is to begin heaven upon earth ; so to live here 
as that we may live for ever in heaven. Whatsoever is done in order to 
this end is good ; but nothing can bo done to this end but upon due con- 
sideration. Let us improve our judgments for that end. They are princi- 
pally given us, not for particular ends, to get this or that man's favour, to 
get wealth, &c., but to use all as they may serve the main. We know not 
how short a time we shall enjoy these things ; and further than they serve 
for the main, we shall have no comfort of them ere long. Our projects 
should be to gain glory to God, and to bring ourselves and others to heaven. 
There is excellent use of this consideration. This way it is one main way 
to repentance. We see here, ' No man repenteth,' because ' no man said, 
What have I done ? ' 

Now if we would practise this duty, we must labour to avoid the hin- 
drances. The main hindrances of this consideration are, 

(1.) The rage of lusts, that will not give the judgment leave to consider 
of a man's ways ; but they are impetuous, commanding, and tyrannous, 
cirrying men, as we shall see in the next clause, ' as the horse rusheth 
into the battle.' We see many carried to hell that never enjoyed them- 
selves, but are alway under some base pleasure. When the devil hath 
filled them with one pleasure, then they project for another, and never take 
time to say, ' What have I done ? ' Oh the tyranny of original corruption ! 
If we had in our eye the vile picture of our nature, that carries us to things 
present, to profits and pleasures, and gives us not liberty and leisure to 
bethink ourselves, would we do as we do ? Alas ! we see some men so 
haunted with their lusts that they cannot be alone, they cannot sleep ; and 
when they are awake they must have music, as that king when he mas- 



sacred a world of men, he could not be quiet a wliit, conscience raged so.* 
When men follow their pleasures, they rob them of themselves. Therefore 
they are said in Scripture to be madmen, and fools without wit. They are 
so taken up with the rage of their lusts that they have not liberty to enjoy 
themselves, they have no time for consideration. 

(2.) And then another hindrance is too much business, when men are 
distracted with the things of this hfe. They are overloaded with cares, 
with Martha's part, and so neglect Mary's part. This makes men toil and 
droilf for the world, and never consider where they are nor whither they 
go, how it shall be with them when they go hence, how the case stands 
with them before God, whether they be gotten out of the cursed state of 
nature that we are all born in. They never think of this, but all the 
marrow and strength of their souls is eaten out with the world. Those 
that in their youth followed their lusts, when they come to years are taken 
up with the world, and shght religion. Their minds are employed how to 
get the favour of this man and that, and so have not leisure to consider 
what will become of their souls. Therefore too much distraction with the 
things of the world is joined with drunkenness : * Be not overcome with 
the cares of this life, with surfeiting and drunkenness,' saith Christ, Luke 
xxi. 34. 

(3.) Then, it is a secret and hard action; because it is to work upon a 
man's self. It is an easy matter to talk of others, to consider other men's 
ways. You shall have men's tongues ready to speak of other men ; they 
do so and so. And thus they feed themselves with talking of other men, and 
in the mean time neglect the consideration of their own state. And again, 
it is a plausible thing. He that talks of other men's faults gives an inti- 
mation that he is innocent, and he had need be so. It is easy and 
plausible. Men glory in it. It feeds corrupt nature to talk of other men's 
faults, but to come home to a man's self, that is a hard thing. It is without 
ostentation or applause. The world doth not applaud a man for speaking 
of his own faults. Men are not given to retired actions. They care not 
for them, unless they have sound hearts ; and this being a retired action, 
that hath no glory nor credit with it, men are loath to come to it. 

(4.) Then, again, it is not only hard and secret, but this returning upon 
a man's self, it presents to a man a s2-)ectacle that is umcelcome. If a man 
consider his own ways, it will present to him a terible object. Therefore 
as the elephant troubles the waters, that he may not see his own visage, so 
men trouble their souls, that they may not see what they are. They shall 
see such a deal of malice and self-love, and fear and distrust, that they 
would not have others in the world to see for anything. But it is good to 
see it ; for repentance and consideration it is physic, it is sharp but whole- 
some. It is better to have the physic a day than to have the sickness and 
disease all the j'ear. So this consideration and repentance, though it be 
sharp, yet take it down, for it will prevent God's eternal judgment ; as the 
fipr-coie saith, ' If we would judge and condemn ourselves, we should not 
be condemned with the world,' 1 Cor. xi. 31. What an excellent thing is 
this, that we may keep sessions in our own souls, and so need not be called 
to God's assizes ! Men are called to that, because they slubber over and 
neglect this. Men will not keep this sessions in their own hearts — which 
they might do not only quarterly, but daily — and thereby they make work 
for God. Is it not better now to unrip our consciences by consideration 
and repentance, than to have all ripped up then, when the devil shall stand 
* Cf. note, Vol. I. pago 149.— G. t That is, ' drudge.'— G. 



by to accuse us, who will say, This was done by my instigation ; and it ia 
so ; and our own consciences shall take part with the devil, and accuse us 
also ? It will be little for our ease to make God our judge. We might 
save the labour by putting conscience to its office now, to examine our 
ways every day, especially now, when God calls for it by his judgments. 
Repentance is the covenant of the gospel, and repentance depends upoa 
this consideration. So much for that. ' No man repented him of his 
wickedness, saying, What have I done ? ' But did they stay here ? No ; 
it follows, 

' Every one turns to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle.' 

Every one hath his course, his way, whether good or evil. The course 
of a wicked man it is a smooth way perhaps, but it is a going from God ; 
it leads from him. And where doth it end ? for every way hath its end. 
It is a going from God to hell. There all the courses of wicked men end. 
Examine, then, where thy course begins, and where it ends ; from what 
thou walkest, and to what ; whither thy course aims ; consider where thy 
speeches and actions are like to end. The specification and denomination 
of our ways to be good or evil is especially from the end. The wicked 
they take their courses, smooth wide courses, the broad beaten way, where 
they may have elbow-room enough, though it end in hell and destruction. 
But the wicked and their ways are both hated of God. Otherwise it is 
with God's children. They may sometimes step into ill ways, but they 
have not an ill course ; and God doth not judge a man by a step, but by 
his course and way. Therefore consider what is the tenor of thy life. Is 
thy way good ? Oh, it is an excellent thing to be in a good way! for a man 
every day to repent of his sins, to make his peace with God, to practise 
the duties of Christianity in his general calling, and in his particular call- 
ing to call upon God for a blessing. Such a man's way is good ; it hath a 
good end. Perhaps he may step out of his way by the temptations of Satan, 
but that is not his course. The best man in the world for a passion on 
the sudden may step into an ill way ; as David, when he determined to 
kill Nabal, but it was not David's way. Therefore we see how soon he 
was put ofi' with a little counsel, and how thankful he was : * Blessed be 
the Lord, and blessed be thou, and blessed be thy counsel,' &c., 1 Sam. 
XXV. 32. His way and course was another way. And so on the other 
side the wickedest man in the world may set a step in a good way for a 
fit, a very Saul may be amongst the prophets, and speak excellently and 
divinely ; but all this while he is out of his way. His way is a course of 
wickedness, to which therefoi-e he will soon betake himself again ; as it is 
here said of these men, * They turned to their own courses.' 

* As the horse rusheth into the battle.' 

Here it is comparatively set down. If you would see how the ' horse 
rusheth into the battle,' it is hvely and divinely expressed. Job xxxix. 19, 
by God himself: ' Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed 
his neck with thunder ? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper ? 
the glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rcjoiceth 
in his strength ; he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, 
and is not affrighted ; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver 
rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth the 
ground with fierceness and rage ; neither believeth he that it is the sound 
of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets. Ha, ha ! and he smelleth 
the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.' There 

god's inquisition. 219 

you have an excellent description of this creature's fierceness — the wit of 
man hath not such expressions — and how ' he rushcth into the battle.' God, 
to abase wicked men, compares them here to the horse ; not for that which 
is good in him, but for their violence in ill courses. They rush into them 
• as the horse rusheth into the battle.' Now, the horse rusheth into the 
battle, (1.) eagerly, as you see him described in the place of Job; and 
(2.) desperatclij, he will not be pulled away by any means ; and then 
(3.) dmigeromhj, for he rusheth upon the pikes, and ofttimes falls down 
suddenly dead. He regards not the pikes, nor guns, nor nothing, but 
rusheth on the danger. Herein wicked men are like unto the horse, going 
on in their course eagerly, desperately, dangerously. 

1. Thexj go on eagerly. It is meat and drink unto them : ' they cannot 
sleep until they have done wickedness.' They plot and study it ; it is 
their delight. They are not in their element but when they are talking 
wickedly and corruptly, or deceiving, or satisfying their desires, the ambi- 
tion and lusts of their corrupt nature. They can no more live out of these 
courses than the fish can live out of the water. Therefore they go eagerly 
upon them. 

2. And as they go eagerly, so desperately and Irreclaimahly too ; nothing 
will restrain them, no thorns nor troubles that can lie in their way. Though 
God hedge in their ways with thorns, they break through all, Hosea ii. 6. 
Even as Balaam, he would go on though there were a sword drawn before 
him, he was more brutish and unreasonable than his poor beast ; the very 
sword of the angel could not move that covetous wretch to go back. So 
it is with every wicked man, he goes on desperately, nothing will keep him 
back and reclaim him. Though God take many courses to do it, by his 
ministers, magistrates, by the motions of his Spirit, by his judgments 
threatened, by judgments executed upon others, and upon themselves 
sometimes, yet they are so eager upon their sins, all this will not beat them 
ofi". They love their sins better than their souls ; nor is it only open 
riotous persons that thus rush into sins, but civil -= rebellious persons also, 
that bless themselves in their ways, and it may be live as irreligiously as 
the other. Take a covetous or an ambitious man : he sacrificeth all to get 
such a place, &c. Such a man mocks Christ, as the Pharisees mocked 
him, notwithstanding all his good sermons and miracles. He goes on 
desperately, nothing will hold him. He breaks through all bars and opposi- 
tions. He cracks his conscience, grieves the good motions of the Spirit, 
despiseth good counsel, and will venture upon the outward breach of laws 
sometimes, rather than he will be defeated of his designs. 

3. And as they go eagerly and desperately, so dangerously too ; for is it 
not dangerous to provoke God ? to rush upon the pikes ? to run against 
thorns ? ' Do you provoke me to jealousy,' saith God, ' and not your- 
selves to destruction ' ? 1 Cor. x. 22. No. They go both together. If 
you provoke me to anger, it will be to your own ruin. In Lev. xxvi. 23, 
' God will walk stubbornly to them as they have done to him ; and he will 
be froward with the froward,' Ps. xviii. 26. Those that are rebellious 
sinners, whom no bonds will hold, no counsel, that break all laws, as the 
man possessed with the devil brake his chains, the time will come that 
when God executes his wrath he will be too good for them, the devil will 
be too good for them, hell will be too good for them, conscience will tear 
them in pieces, and the judgment of God will seize on them. The way of 
wicked men is a wretched, a desperate, and dangerous course. Thou art 

* That is, ' moral.' — G. 



stubborn against God, and be is so against tbee. He will do to tbee as 
thou doest to bim. Wbo are we ? ' Are we stronger tban God ' ? 1 Cor. x. 23. 
Careless, atbeistical persons tbink tbey are. Tusb ! tbey can wind out 
well enougb : but tbey will find it otherwise. * Do we provoke tbe Lord to 
jealousy? Are we stronger tban be' ? saitb tbe apostle. Let us lay tbis to 

We see here again bow sin bath clean defaced tbe image of God in man. 

* Man being in honour,' be would become like God. He was weary of bis 
subordination. He would be absolute ; and because be would be like God, 
God made bim like tbe beast ; and it is worse to be bke tbe beast tban to 
be a beast. For tbe beast in bis own condition follows tbe instinct of 
natui'e ; but to be like a beast, is for a man to unman himself, to degrade 
himself to a baser condition tban God made bim in ; and when a man doth 
this, be is either in malice like tbe devil, or in licentiousness as the beast 
is. He is alway like tbe devil or a beast till he be a new creature. And 
that our nature is come to this, we are beholding to our own yielding to 
Satan and his counsel. We ' rush as the horse into the battle.' There- 
fore let us beware of this. ' Be ye not as tbe horse and mule,' &c., saitb 
David, Ps. xxxii. 9. \Vbo would not labour to be in a better condition ? 
to be a new creature, to be changed by tbe powerful ordinances and Spirit 
of God ? So much for that briefly. Come we now to tbe last clause. 

' Yea, tbe stork in the heavens knowetb her appointed times ; and tbe 
turtle and the crane and tbe swallow observe tbe time of their coming ; but 
my people know not the judgment of the Lord.' 

Here is another expression comparative, or rather superlative. He com- 
pares them to the 'stork and turtle, tbe crane and swallow ; and prefers 
these poor creatures, in wisdom and providence, as going before men. 

* But my people know not tbe judgment of the Lord.' There needs no 
great explication of tbe words. Judgment is directive or corrective. 

The directive is the law of God ; setting down God's judicious* course. 
Tbis you shall do, or if you do not this you shall be punished. When we 
obey not God's directive course, we meet with his corrective ; for judg- 
ment is tbe stablisbing of judgment. Judgment of correction is tbe stab- 
lisbing of judgment of direction. God's lav/s must be performed. Tbey 
are not scare-crows. If we avoid tbe one, we shall run into the other. If 
we do not meet him in tbe judgment of bis directive law, we must be met 
with in his law corrective — if we be good men — or destructive if we be bad 
men. Now here, I take it, be means especially tbe judgment of correction, 
tbe time of visitation. It was a dangerous time, as it is now among us. 
Tbey were already under several heavy judgments, as famine, &c. We see 
in the next verse, ' there was no vines, no grapes,' &c., all failed. And 
besides, a far heavier judgment was ready to come upon them. They 
were ready to be carried into Babylon, ' and tbey knew not tbe judgment 
of tbe Lord.' 

' Tbey knew not ; ' that is, they did not make use of it ; for in divinity, 
things are not known when they are not affected. f God knowetb all things, 
but when be doth not affect and delight in us, be is said ' not to know us.' 
So we are said not to know, when we do not affect and make use of things. 

* They know not the judgment of tbe Lord.' Tbey were not ignorant. '1 He had 
told them of vengeance ; be bad told them that they should be carried into 
captivity ; but they made not that use they should of it. Therefore they 

* That is, 'judicial.'— G. f Tliat is, ' chosen,' = attended to.— G. 

god's inquisition. 221 

are said not to know it. So the old world. It is said they did not know 
of the flood. Certainly Noah had told them of it. But when they made 
not a right use of it, but went on brutishly, they knew it not. It is all 
one not to know it at all, and not to make use of it. Wicked men think 
they know God, and they know religion well enough ; ay, but what use do 
they make of it in their particular course ? That which we do not use we 
do not know in religion. If ill be discovered, and be not avoided by thee, 
thou art a brutish, senseless creature. Thou dost not know it, and so thou 
shalt be dealt with. * They know not the judgment of the Lord ;' that is, 
they will not know it ; it was affected ignorance. The words being thus 
unfolded, here, first, we see, 

That God confounds the proud dispositions of ivicked men by poor, silly 
creatures — the crane, the turtle, the swallow, and the like. 

What their wisdom is we see by experience. In winter, to fly from hard 
and cold parts to those where there is a spring. They are here in the 
moderate season ; and when the summer is gone, they go to a more mode- 
rate air, where they may live better. For the life is the chief good of such 
poor creatures, and their happiness being determined in their life, they 
labour to keep that. They have an instinct put in them by God to pre- 
serve their being by removing from place to place, and to use that that 
may keep life. 

Now, man is made for a better life ; and there be dangers concerning 
the soul in another world, yet he is not so wise for his soul and his best 
being as the poor creatures are to preserve their being by the instinct of 
nature. When sharp weather comes they avoid it, and go where a better 
season is, and a better temper of the air; but man, when God's judgments 
are threatened and sent on him, and God would have him part with his 
sinful courses, and is ready to fire him, and to force him out of them, yet 
he is not so careful as the creatures. He will rather perish and die, and 
rot in his sins, and settle upon his dregs, than alter his course. So he is 
more sottish than the silly creatures. He will not go into a better estate, 
to the heat, to the sunbeams to warm him. He will not seek for the 
favour of God, to be cherished with'the assurance of his love, as the poor 
creature goeth to the sun to warm it till it be over hot for it. Man should 
know what is good and what is evil. The new creature doth so. For with 
the change of nature there is a divine wisdom put into the soul of a Chris- 
tian, that teacheth him what is good and what is evil ; that he may be 
careful to avoid the evil ; that he m<ay discern of things that difier ; that 
he may say. This is good for my soul, and all the world shall not scofi" me 
out of that that I know to be good. With their profane jesting, they shall not 
drive me from that is good ; and for courses that are ill, they shall not 
draw me with all their allurements. I know what belongs to the good of 
my soul better than so. It should be thus with Christians, to be wise for 
their spiritual being, as the poor creatures, the stork, and the crane, and 
the turtle, are to preserve their poor life here with as much comfort as 
they can. 

God takes out of the book of nature things useful, to insert them into 
his divine book ; because now no man shall be ashamed to learn of the 
creatures. Now, since the fall, man must learn of the poor creatures, and 
such a dunce is man, it is well for him if he can learn of the ant, and crane, 
and turtle ; and therefore doth God take lessons out of the book of nature, 
and put them into his book, to teach us to furnish ourselves with divine 
mysteries and instructions from the creatm-es. And indeed a gracious heart 

222 god's inquisition. 

will make use of everything, and have his thoughts raised with them. Aa 
the prophet Jeremiah here, he shames them by the example of the creatures. 
But of this by the way. 

The thing most material, with which I will end, is this : 

Doct. That God, after long patience, hath judgments to come on people ; 
and it should he the j^n^t of people to know when the judgment is coming. 

There is a season when God will forbear no longer in this world. ' They 
know not the judgment of the Lord.' The meaning is not, in hell, though 
that may come in : that is implied in all ; but ' they know not the ^^udgment 
of the Lord,' that is, they know not the judgments that are coming. When 
judgments are coming, God opens the hearts and understandings of his 
people to know them ; as there is an instinct in the creatures to know when 
there will be hard weather. 

Quest. But how shall we know when a judgment is near hand ? 

Ans. 1. By comparing the sins with the judgments. If there be such sins 
that such judgments are threatened for, then as the thread followeth the 
needle, and the shadow the body, so those judgments follow such and such 
courses. For God hath knit and linked these together. All the power in 
the world and hell cannot unlink them, sin and judgment ; judgment either 
correcting us to amendment, or confounding us to perdition. God, there- 
fore, having threatened in the Scriptures such judgments to such sins ; if 
we live in such and such sins, we may look for such judgments. Thus a 
wise man, by laying things together, the sins with the judgments, though 
he cannot tell the particular, yet he may know that some heavy judgment 
is at hand. 

2. Again, There is a nearer way to know a judgment, ivhcn it hath seized 
on ns in piart already. He that is not brutish and sottish, and drunk with 
cares and sensuality, must needs know a judgment when it is already 
inflicted, when part of the house is on fire. We see judgment hath seized 
now on the places where we live, and therefore we cannot be ignorant of it. 

3. Again, We may know it hy the example of others. God keeps his old 
walks. Therefore it is said, * As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be 
when the Son of man comes : they were eating, and drinking, and marry- 
ing, and knew not till the flood came and took them away,' Mat. xxiv. 38, 39. 
God will be like himself, if sinners be like themselves. He will not change, 
if they change not ; but will deal alike with them in his judgments, as he 
hath dealt with others. What ground have we to hope for immunity more 
than others ? We may rather expect it less, because we have their examples ; 
and so they wanted those examples to teach them which we have. In Jer, 
vii. 12, saith God, ' Consider, look to Shiloh, and see what I did there : 
so will I do to you.' So likewise the judgments on Jerusalem are a fearful 
spectacle for us. These and other examples may help us to judge of our 
condition in regard of approaching judgments. 

4. Again, General security is a great sign of some judgment coming. In 
the days of Noah, there was a general sensual security. Notwithstanding 
the prophet foretold them of the deluge, they were eating, &c., and knew 
not till the flood came and took them away. So likewise, if we eat, and 
drink, and marry, and build, and be negligent and careless of making our 
peace with God, especially when warning is given us, it is a sign that some 
judgment, either personal on ourselves, or generally on the place we live 
in, will come upon us. There is never more cause of fear, than when there 
is least fear. The reason is, want of fear springs from infidelity, for faith 
stirs up fearfulness and care to please God : ' By faith Noah, moved with 

god's inquisition. 223 

fear,' or reverence, * builded the ark,' Heb. xi. 7. It proceeds from infi- 
delity, not to be afraid when there is cause. Again, where there is no fear, 
there is no care. So the root of the want of fear is infidelity, and the spring 
that comes from it is carelessness, which always goes before destruction. 
When men care not what becomes of them : if God be pleased, so it is ; if 
judgment come, so it is ; the care* is taken. ' When men thus say. Peace, 
peace, then cometh destruction.' It is a terrible thing for a state or a city, 
or a particular person, to be careless ; for the life of a Christian it is a 
watching, as well as a warring, condition. He must be alway on his guard. 
Therefore he must not be careless, ' and say, Peace, when God speaks no 

5. Again, We may know that some judgment is coming, hy the universality 
and generality of sin, ichcn it spreads over all. When there is a general 
infection of sin, we may well fear the infection of the air. Sin hath infected 
the souls of men ; therefore no wonder if God, in the plague, have a hand 
in infecting their bodies. We see here, before the prophet threatened this 
destruction, there was a generality of sin. In the 10th verse of this chap- 
ter, he cries out against the covetousness and false dealing of the priests 
and prophets, and men of all estates. And so also chapter v. ver. 4, ' The 
poor they were naught :' they were poor in grace and goodness, as well as 
in condition. Then saith he, * I will see if there be any goodness in the 
great ones : I will get me to the great men.' Ver. 5, &c., * They have 
known the way of the Lord, and the judgment of their God ; but they have 
broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.' When poor and rich, great and 
small, when all are sottish and brutish, ' when all flesh had corrupted their 
ways,' Gen. vi. 12, as it was before the flood, then judgment must needs 
come. Surely generality of sin makes way for generality of judgment. As 
the deluge of sin made way for the deluge of water, so the overflow of sin 
will make way for a flood of fire. God will one day purge the world with 

But now for particular sins, whereby we may know when judgment is 
coming. These they are : 

(1.) First, Injustice and formality in religion. When men are generally 
unjust, destruction is near ; and indeed, how can a Christian soul look upon 
men's courses abroad in these regards, ' but he shall weep in secret,' Lam. 
i. 16 ? Is there not a general injustice ? Will not men get any cause, so 
they have a good purse ? Is not innocency trodden down ofttimes ? 

2. And so for religion. It is generally neglected. Indifierency and 
formality they are the sins of the times. Here is a sweet progress. In 
Queen Elizabeth's time, we began with zeal and earnestness ; but now we 
begin to stagger whether religion is the better. We will join and put them 
together, that God hath put an eternal difference between, ' light and dark- 
ness.' Is this our progress after so much teaching, to put off" God with 
formality, and deny the power ? 

(3.) Again, Another particular sin foreshewing judgment, is jjersecution of 
religion and religious men. When God is worshipped with conscience as he 
should be, what imputations are laid on it ! I need not speak. The world 
knows well enough. Can God endure this, when conscience of his service 
shall go under the brand of opposition ? God is much beholding to the 
times, when there is nothing so heartily hated as that. There are many 
things loathsome, as deboishness,f &c. But what is so eagerly and heartily 
hated as the power of godliness ? That which they have been known to do 
* Qu. ' no care ' ?— Ed. t That is, • debauchery.'— G. 


for conscience, hath been matter of reproach and ruin almost to many men. 
If a man will not prostitute his conscience to a creature, to make an idol of 
him, to set him highest, if he will not be buxom, and crack his conscience 
for a creature, he is scarce thought fit to live in the world. Will God 
sufier this, if these things be not amended ? If anything be good in reli- 
gion, the more the better, the more exact Christian the better. Exactness 
in other things is best. Is to be best in the best naught, when to be best 
in that which is not so good carries away the commendations ? In 1 Thess. 
ii. 16, * The wrath of God is come on them to the utmost ; God they hate 
and they are contrary to all men.' This is a forerunner of destruction, the 
spiteful opposing of goodness. God will not endure it long. 

(4.) And so when men will rjo on incorrigibly in sin, as these here, * they 
rush as the horse into the battle ;' when they will not be reclaimed, it is a 
forerunner of destruction. Alas ! the ministers of God strive with men, 
' but they break off the cords,' Ps. ii. 3, and cry. Tush ! they are silly 
men ; shall we yield to them ? V/e know what is for our gain, and 
profit, and credit in the world better than so. Let us look to that, and not 
be hampered in these religious bonds. No ; we are wiser than so. Thus 
when men are incorrigible, and account the wisdom of God stark folly, it is 
a sign of destruction. There is an excellent place for this, Ezek. xxiv. 12-14, 
' She hath wearied herself with lies, and her great scum went not out of 
her : she would not have her filthiness taken from her. In her filthiness is 
lewdness ; because I would have purged thee,' with the word and the 
preaching of judgments, ' and thou wouldst not be purged ; therefore thou 
shalt not be purged till thou die, until I cause my fury to rest upon thee. 
I the Lord have spoken it : it shall come to pass, I will do it.' When God 
goes about to purge us by his word, and we will not amend our ways, we 
will not stoop, but * strengthen an iron sinew, and a whore's forehead,' 
Jer. iii. 3. We will not be purged, nay, saith God, thou shalt not be 
purged till I purge thee out of the world to hell, till my fury rest on thee. 
I the Lord have spoken it, it shall come to pass, Isa. slvi. 11. There is 
another notable place, Prov. xxix. 1, ' He that is a man of reproof,' that is, 
a man that is sermon-proof, that is often reproved and yet carries himself 
impudently and hardens his heart, and stiffens his neck, ' he shall suddenly 
be destroyed.' He doth not mean but that he had warning enough ; but 
because after long warning he hardens his neck, he shall suddenly be 
destroyed, when he. looks not for it, ' and that without remedy.' There is 
the same phrase in 2 Chron. xxxvi, 16, ' There was no remedy,' when they 
did not regard God's ministers, that directed them the way to heaven, but 
would hve in rebellion against the means of salvation. Then saith God, 
* there was no remedy.' God sent his messengers betimes, and had com- 
passion on his people. He would not have had them perish. ' They 
trifled with him and. mocked his messengers,' accounted them weak men. 
They despised his word, and misused his prophets ; and then the Lord's wrath 
rose against his people, and ' there was no remedy.' So when people are 
as those here in the text, that ' they rush as the horse into the battle,' 
that they are sermon-proof, that when every sermon they hear, as the 
hammer on the smith's anvil, makes them harder and harder, as Moses 
speaking to Pharaoh increased the hardness of his heart, it is a sign of 

Now whether it be so or no, I leave it to your particular consciences. 
We that are ministers tell you of your filthiness, of your profaning the name 
of God, and contempt of God's word. Whether have we gained upon you 


or no ? Who hath left an oath ? Who hath left his wicked courses and 
entered into a nearer communion with God for all our teaching ? Blessed 
is that man. It is a sign God will not destroy him. It is a sign that in 
the general visitation God will regard that man. But, alas ! we may almost 
complain with Jeremiah in his prophecy, Jer. v. 1, where he runs up and 
down to seek a man. Alas ! they are very few. They are thick sown, 
but come thin up, that obey the ordinance of God. It is some comfort 
that men will submit to the ordinance, that they will come to hear. Some 
good may be learned. It is better than to keep out of the compass of God's 
law, as those men do that pretend they can read sermons at home, and so 
will teach God a course to bring men to heaven. There is hope of men 
when they submit to God's ordinance. But, I beseech you, how are you 
affected now for the present ? How do you come now into the presence of 
God, if you will not amend and resolve to enter into a new course ? He 
that is often reproved and will not come in, 'judgment will come suddenly 
on him without all remedy.' And it is good it should be without remedy ; 
because it is without excuse. You cannot plead, and say that there were 
not prophets among you. If the heathens were hardened and given up to 
destruction, — ' the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against them,' 
Rom i. 18, because they lived in a course of rebellion against the light of 
nature ; — shall you, that have the light of nature, and the word of God, and 
the motions of his Spirit too, think to live in rebelHon and not be accountable 
for it ? It shall be easier for them that never heard of the word of God. 
Where God hath magnified his mercy, he will exalt judgment. Those 
that are lift up to heaven in privileges, shall be cast down to hell. ' Woe 
unto thee, Capernaum,' &c.. Mat. xi. 21. The more in privileges, the more 
in judgment if they be abused. 

(5.) Again, Another particular sin whereby we may discern a judgment 
coming is, imfruitfulness under the means ; as the fig-tree, when it was digged 
and dunged, and yet was unfruitful, then it was near a curse. In Heb. 
vi. 3, the ground that is tilled and manured, and hath the rain falling on 
it, it is then ' near unto cursing' if it bring not forth. Perhaps a heathen, 
a pagan, if he were under the means, would be fruitful ; therefore there 
might be hope of him. But those that are under the means, under the 
sunshine of the gospel, under the influence of it, the Spirit working on their 
hearts ; and yet they live in the sin of unfruitfulness, it makes way for 
judgment. * The axe is laid to the root,' Mat. iii. 10. When men are 
taught, then the instrument of vengeance is laid to the root, and down they 
go if they bring not forth good fruit. 

Sins of omission, when that all hath been taught, are sufficient to bring 
a man to judgment. At the last judgment, ' you have not visited me in 
prison, you have not relieved the poor,' &c., will be evidence enough to cast 
a man into hell, Mat. xxv. 43. And the like may be said of the omission 
of other duties. When a man is called to place, when he hath opportunity 
to do good, ' he hath a price in his hand, and yet hath no heart to lay it 
out to his power.' God hath made him a steward, and yet he is unfruit- 
ful, and labours to undermine and ruin the state of others. What can 
such a man look for but the judgment of God to light on him first or last"? 
If not present judgment on his body, yet to be given up to hardness of 
heart, and so to hell, which is worst of all. 

(6.) Nay more, decay in our first love is a forerunner of judgment, when 
we love not God as we were wont. In Rev. ii. 5, 'I will take away thy 
candlestick, because thou hast left thy first love.' Is there not such a 

VOL. VI. p 

226 god's inquisition. 

plenty and depth in good things, especially of the gospel, whereby our sins 
are pardoned, and grace is given ? Is there not that sweetness in them 
■whereby to gain our love more and more ? Is there not a necessity to 
renew our peace ? "Why should we decay in our love ? The things of the 
gospel are so excellent and so necessary, that when God sees them under- 
valued, it is a forerunner of judgment. Let us take heed of decay in our 
affections. Wlien there is no zeal for the truth, it is an ill sign. 

It is a good sign for the present that God hath some blessing for us, 
that now in our public meetings there is regard to religion ; and that, in the 
first place, there is some zeal for the cause of God against those that would 
wrong the cause of religion. We have some cause to hope in respect of 
that. And let every one labour to stir up the Spirit of God, and study 
how he may do and receive good, and be fruitful and warm in his affections, 
considering what excellent blessings we enjoy in the gospel. What is the 
glory of the kingdom we live in above popery ? Our religion that we have, 
the sunshine of the gospel. Now the riches of Christ are unfolded ; we 
have the key of heaven, heaven opened ; what glorious times are these ! 
The glory of the times is the manifestation of the gospel ; and shall we 
grow in the decay of our love ? Is there not cause to grow in love to the 
gospel, when God hath taken it from others and hath given it to us? Now, 
idolatry is where true religion was ; and the mass is said where God was 
religiously worshipped in other places and countries. Shall God so deal 
with us, and shall we not be in love with that truth ? Since we have had 
the truth, what peace and plenty have we had ! And if ever we lose it, it 
will go with other things. If God takes away the truth, away goes our 
peace and prosperity. He will not take it away alone. It came not alone, 
and he will not take it away alone. Doubtless it must needs make way for 
judgment, when our love to so precious a jewel as the gospel shall begin to 
die and decay, when we shall begin to slight and disregard it. And so for 
any particular man that hath had good things in him. If they now begin 
to decay, it is an ill sign, that God is fitting him for judgment. 

Well, but w'hat shall we do when judgments are coming ? We see judg- 
ments are like to come, nay, are in part come. The plague of pestilence 
hath seized on us already ; and then war is threatened, and that by ene- 
mies that have been foiled before. Foiled enemies are dangerous enemies, 
if they be proud. Now we have proud enemies that have been foiled, and 
idolatrous v.'ithal, and what mercy can we look for from them ? God 
fought against them for us from heaven in some measure, and they being 
cruel provoked enemies, are the less likely to shew any mercy.* God is 
indeed so merciful to us yet, that he hath taken us into his own hands, 
rather than to give us up to the malice and fury of idolatrous enemies. 
But yet those that can lay things together, and consider the times, they 
shall see there is more cause of fear than is taken to heart. 

Well, and in this case, what shall we do ? 

1. First, In the interim between the threatening and the execution. 
There are some judgments in the cloud, and the storm seems to hang over 
us, and the sword of the pestilence is drawn over our heads by the destroy- 
ing angel, though he hath not yet stricken us in our particular. Now in the 
time between the threatening and the execution ; oh improve it, make use 
of this little time; get into covenant with God; hide yourselves in the provi- 
dence and promises of God; make your peace, defer it no longer. 

2. And secondly. Mourn for the si77S of the time, that when any judg- 

* Spain. — G. 

god's inquisition. 227 

ment shall come, you may be marked with those that mourn. Take heed 
of the errors and sins of the times, lest, when a judgment comes, you be 
swept away in the general judgments. But let us rather have our part 
with those that mourn, that God may give us our lives for a prey. 

3. And thirdly, Be watchfal. Practise that duty, We have the plague 
to put us in mind of it, besides the threatening of dangers by enemies 
abroad. If we will not watch now and stand upon our guard, when will 
we ? Let us be watchful to do all the good we can, to be fruitful, to be 
good stewards, to have large hearts. The time may come that we may be 
stripped of all, and we know not how soon. Having but a little time, let 
us do good in it ; study all opportunities in these times ; rouse up our 
sluggish souls. Fear, it is a waking affection. Jacob, when his brother 
Esau was ready to seize on him, * he could not sleep that night.' We 
know not how soon the hand and arrow of God may strike us, besides 
other judgments. Let us shake off security, and do everything we do sin- 
cerely to God. We may come to God to make our account, we know not 
how soon. Let us do everything as in his presence, and to him. In our 
particular callings, let us be conscionable,* and careful, and fruitful. Let 
us do all in our places to God, and not to the world, or to our own parti- 
cular gain, but do it as those that must give account ere long to God. 
Now, God threateneth us to come and give our account ; who can be 
secure he shall have life for a week, or for one day ? We cannot. ' Our 
times are in God's hands,' Ps. xxxi. 15. We came into the world in his 
time, and we must go out in his time. But now we have less cause to 
hope for long life. This is to make a right use of the judgment of God, to 
be watchful in this kind. 

And withal, let us be good husbands now in the interim. Between the 
threatening and the execution of the judgment, let us store up comforts 
from the promises of God, and store up the comforts of a good life. We 
shall have more comfort of the means we have bestowed wisely than of that 
we shall leave behind us. Thus if we do, come what will, we are prepared. 
Many holy and heavenly men have been visited with pestilential sickness. 
Hezekiah was a king, and his was a pestilential sickness ; and many holy 
divines of late, and other Christians, have been swept away by the sickness 
— Junius, and other rare men of excellent use in the church [h). Therefore 
let us labour to get into the favour of God ; make use of our renewing our 
covenant for the time to come. That is one end of fasting now, to renew 
our covenants, to remake them for the time to come. And then come what 
will, and welcome, life or death ; for there is a blessing hid in the most 
loathsome sickness and death. If we come to heaven, it is no matter by 
what way, though the body ' be sown in dishonour.' We may die of a noisome 
disease, that we cannot have our friends near us, yet ' the body shall rise 
again in honour,' 1 Cor. xv. 43. What matter, saith St Paul, ' if by any 
means I may come to the resurrection of the dead ; ' by fair death or foul 
death, it is no matter. And if so be that God makes not good his promise 
of particular protection of our bodies from contagion, &c,, it is no matter. 
We have a general promise ' that he will be our God.' * He is the God of 
Abraham,' the God of the dead as well as of the living, Mat. xxii. 32. 
He is a God that is everlasting in the covenant of grace, in life and death, 
and for ever. If we be entered into the covenant of grace, it holds for 
ever. And when all other promises fail, and all things in the world fail, 
stick to the main promise of forgiveness of sins, ' and life everlasting.' 
* That is, ' conscientious.' — G. 


228 god's inquisition. 

When all things in the world will fail, we must leave them shortly, wealth 
and whatsoever, what a comfort is in that grand promise that God will for- 
give us our sins, and give us Hfe everlasting for Christ ! Therefore, when 
all things else are gone, let us wrap ourselves in the gracious promises of 
Christ, and then we shall live and die with comfort. 


(a) P. 213. — ' Therefore an ancient saith, " Ho that is good only under the cross 
is never good." ' Qu. Bernard ? 

(b) P. 227. — ' Junius.' The allusion to the ' plague' shews that Sibbes speaks of 
Francis Du Jou or Junius of Leyden, an eminent theologian who was swept off by 
the pla<me there in 1602. He is sometimes confounded with a contemporary 
Baldwinus Junius, and sometimes with his own sou and namesake. There are 
others of the same name more or less distinguished. G. 




'Ricli Poverty' forms the last of the four treatises included in 'Light from 
Heaven' (4to, 1638). The title-page is given below.* For general title-page see 
Vol. IV. p. 490. G. 

* THE 




By the late Learned and Reverend Divine, 


D"^. in Divinity, Master of Katharine Plall in 

Cambridge, and sometimes Preacher at 


Alatth. 5. 3. Blessed are the poorc in spirit. 

lames 2. 5. Hath not God chosen tlie poore of this world, rich 

in faith ? 


Printed by R. Badger for N. Bourne at the Royall 

Exchange, and R. Harford at tlie gilt Bible in 

Queenes-head Alley in Fater-Noster Row. 

16 38. 




1 will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and i^oor jx'ople, and they 

shall trust in the name of the Lord. — Zeph. III. 12. 

Before the captivity in Babylon, God sent prophets to his people, as 
Jeremiah ; and among the rest Zephaniah likewise, who lived in the time 
of Josiah, to forewarn and forearm them against worse times. And as the 
contents of all other prophecies are for the most part these three, so of 
this : they are either such expressions and prophecies as set forth the 
sins of the people ; or, secondly, the judgments of God ; or, thirdly, com- 
fort to the remnant, to God's people. So these be the parts of this pro- 
phecy : a laying open of the sins of the time, under so good a prince as 
Josiah was ; and likewise the judgments of God denounced ; and then in 
this third chapter especially, here is comfort set down for the good people 
that then lived. The comfort begins at the ninth verse. 

This particular verse is a branch of the comfort, that however God dealt 
with the world, he would be sure to have a cai*e of his own : ' I will leave 
in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in 
the name of the Lord.' The whole Scripture is for consolation and com- 
fort. When God ' pulls down,' it is that he may build up ; when he 
purgeth, it is that he may cure and heal. He is ' the father of comfort,' 

2 Cor. i. 3. Whatsoever he doth, it is for comfort. Therefore he hath a 
special care in his prophets and ministers and ambassadors, that those 
that belong to him may be raised up with comfort, and not be over-much 
dejected and cast down. But to come to the words. 

' I will also leave in the midst of thee,' &c. 

In the words these three general heads : 

First, God's dealings with his poor church when he comes to visit the 
world: ' I will leave in the midst of thee.' 

Secondly, Their condition and disposition : they are ' an afflicted and 
poor people.' 

Thirdly, Their practice and carriage towards God : ' They shall trust in 
the name of the Lord.' 


From the first, God's dealing with his people in the worst times, we may 
observe, first, that 

Obs. 1. There is a difference of the people, both in regard of providence 
in this world, and in regard of that love that tends to the world to come. 
For God hath a more special care, as we shall see afterwards, of some, 
than he hath of others ; and he loves some to eternal life, and not others : 
' I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people,' refusing 
others. God will leave some. He will purge away others ; as he saith in 
the verse before, ' I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice 
in thy pride ; and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy moun- 
tain.' He will take away them, ' but I will leave in the midst of thee,' &c. 
There is a difference. All are not alike, as the proverb is, as white lines 
upon a white stone, that we cannot see a difference. It is not alike with 
all men, for we see a difference in this world ; but not much here, because 
God's government is veiled. It will appear at the last day ; and whatso- 
ever appears at the last da}^ it had a ground before. There is a difference 
in regard of grace and inward qualification, and in regard of the care of 
God. Even as there is a difference in the creatures ; there be precious 
stones and common stones ; and in plants, there be fruitful trees and 
barren trees ; and as there is a difference likewise in the living creatures, 
so among men there is a difference. 

The next thing is, that 

Obs. 2. God ivill havesome in the irorst times. He will have some in all times, 
that are his, a remnant, as he saith here, ' The remnant of Israel shall do no 
iniquity ; ' and as in the text, ' I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted 
and poor people,' &c. God will have alway some that are his in the world. 

Reason 1. For it is an article of our faith, ' We believe the holy catholic 
church.' There must not be an article of faith and no object to believe. 
If there be faith to believe a thing, there must be somewhat to be believed. 
If I believe that at all times there shall be an ' holy catholic church,' there 
must be such a church in the world, that is the object of my belief, or else 
there were no foundation for that article of faith. Therefore there must 
always be a church to the end of the world ; sometimes more, sometimes 
fewer, even as the discovery of Christ is. From whence comes the 
abundance of the Spirit? The Spirit follows the manifestation of the 
knowledge of Christ, who is the head of the church. Then is the church 
most glorious, when the riches of Christ are more gloriously discovered. 
Those times wherein there is most discovery of Christ, and the mercy and 
love of God in him, there are more ' elect' of God in those times than in 
other. There will be alway a church in the world. That is the object 
of our belief. What is the meaning of it ? I believe that in all times to 
the end of the world there will be a company of people spread over the 
world, gatLered out of the rest of mankind, whom Christ hath knit to him- 
self by faith, and themselves together in a holy spirit of love, of which com- 
pany I beHeve myself to be one ; therefore there must be such a company, 
or else there would be faith without an object of faith, which were a great 
absurdity in divinity and reason too. 

Reason 2. Then again, The world shoidd not stand, were it not for a com- 
pany in the ivorld that are his. For what are others ? A compan}?^ of 
swearers and blasphemers, profane persons, belly-gods, ambitious bubbles, 
that care for nothing but the vanities of the world. What glory hath God 
by them ? What tribute do they give to God ? What credit to religion ? 
They are the shame of the times. They are such as pull God's vengeance 

THE POOR man's eiches. 233 

upon the times and places they live in. Such is the ill disposition and 
poisonful nature of men, if they have not the Spirit of God, that God would 
not endure the world to stand a moment, unless there were some to with- 
hold his wrath, to be objects of his love, and to stay his hand ; and when 
they are all gathered, there shall be an end of this wretched and sinful 
world. Some there must be while the world endures, and for their sakes 
God continues the world. Those that keep God's wrath from the world are 
those that are his ; and till all those be gathered the world shall stand. 
There shall alway be some. 

Use 1. It is a point not altogether fruitless. It yields some comfort to 
know, that when we are taken hence, others shall stand up when we are 
gone. The church shall not die with us. Is not that a comfort, when a 
Christian yields his soul to God, to think : yet God will have a church and 
people, if not amongst us, yet in some other part of the world. He will 
have some that shall glorify him in this world, that shall adorn and beautify 
religion, and shall for ever be glorified with him in heaven, till he have 
made an end of these sinful days. It is some comfort, I say, that good- 
ness shall live after us, that the gospel shall continue after us. There shall 
be a posterity to the end of the world, that shall stand for the truth and 
cause of God. The world was not, nor ever shall be so bad, but God hath 
had, and will have, a party in the world that shall stand for him, and he 
for them. Now the children of God, as they know God hath a purpose to 
glorify them world without end ; so they have a desire that God may be 
glorified world without end ; and from this desire comes joy, when they 
think that there will be a people on earth to glorify God still when they are 
taken hence : for it is a disposition wrought from God's peculiar love, to 
wish that God may ever have his praise here in the world, while it is a 
world, and for ever in the world to come. Therefore it is a comfort to them 
to think that God will always have a church. 

But these are but a few, called by Isaiah a remnant : ' a remnant 
according to election,' as it is, Rom. xi. 5. A handful in comparison of 
the world, yet they are a world in respect of themselves ; for they are a 
world taken out of the world. But compared with the rest of mankind, 
they are but as a ' few grapes after the vintage, as the gleanings after the 
harvest, one of a city, and two of a tribe,' Jer. iii. 14. The prophets, 
every one of them have special phrases to set out the fewness of those that 
God hath a special care of. He calls them in the next verse the ' remnant 
of Israel.' God will have some continually; but those are but a few that 
are his. His flock is but ' a little flock.' 

It is a point not mainly aimed at here ; but it is very useful. 

Use 2.* Is there but a few, but a remnant in all times ? Am I one of 
those ? What have I to evidence to me that I am of that little flock that is 
Christ's ? "What have I in me to evidence that God hath set his stamp 
upon me to be his ? that I shall not go the broad way to destruction ? 
This should force such quceres to our souls. When we hear of the few that 
shall be saved, we should make that use that Christ makes of that curiousf 
question of the fewness of them that should be saved. ' Oh strive to enter 
in at the strait gate,' Luke xiii. 24. Stand not on many or few. Make 
this use of it. Strive to enter in at the strait gate. Take up and practise 
the duties of religion, that are contrary to the corruption of nature, and 
contrary to the times. Avoid the sins and courses of the times, and then 

* In margin here, ' To examine if we be of those few.' — G. 
t That is, = ' vainly inquisitive.' — G. 


■we shall know and evidence to ourselves that we are of that few number. 
Somewhat must be done to shew that we are not of those that go the broad 
way. We hear that there are few that go the other way ; and indeed it 
will make a man look about him, the very consideration that there are but 
few that shall be saved. 

Use 3. And it will make a man wondrous thankful. * Who am I, and 
what is my father's house ?' 2 Sam. vii. 18. What is there in me ? What 
could God see in me to single me out of the rest, out of a great number 
that go the broad way to destruction, to set his love upon me ? It will 
inflame the heart with thankfulness to God. It will not make a man proud 
to despise others. That is pharisaical. But it will inflame the heart to be 
thankful in a peculiar manner to God, and 'to single out God in a peculiar 
manner to be our God, as he hath singled us out to be his. For always he 
works somewhat in us, like to that he works for us. Those that God hath 
singled out to be his, he will give them grace to single out him again. God 
shall be my God, religion shall be my care, and that that God respects shall 
be that that I will respect. Since God so respects me, shall not I love and 
respect all that God respects ? And shall I not grieve when anything goes 
amiss with that that God hath a care of? Certainly it will work this dis- 
position, when we come to perceive, by grounded evidence, that we are of 
that few company, of that remnant here spoken of, that God will leave 
alway to trust in his name. 

Obs. In the next place, though they be few, yet God hath a special care 
of them. Why ? There is good reason ; for they are his in a peculiar 
manner. A governor of an house, he cares for all his cattle, but he cares 
for his children more. A man hath some care for all the lumber and trash 
in his house ; he sees them useful at some time or other, but he cares more 
for his jewels. If fire come, he will be sure to carry away his jewels, what- 
soever become of the lumber. God's children are his after a peculiar man- 
ner. Therefore he hath an answerable peculiar care of them in all times. 
And indeed when they are once his, as he makes them have a peculiar care 
of him, so he looks upon them as such as he hath wrought upon to be 
good, and to witness for him ; that have a care to stand for him and his 
honour, to own him and the cause of religion ; he will have a care of them. 
Not that they have this of themselves to win his love, but he works in them 
a care to witness for him ; he works in them a care to stand for him and 
his glory in all times ; and therefore he will be sure to stand for them in 
the worst times. He will not be beholding to any man. What we have, 
we have it from him ; and then he crowns his ovrn graces after. He will 
have a special care of those that are his. 

This might be instanced from the beginning of the world, from the 
infancy of the church to this present time. When he would consume the 
old world, Noah must come into the ark. And Lot must come forth of 
Sodom when it was to be destroyed ; the angel could do nothing else, Gen. 
xix. 22. So he had a care for Jeremiah and Baruk, he gave them their 
lives for a prey. He will have a care of his own in the worst times, for 
they are sealed ; he hath set his seal upon them. Those things that are 
sealed we have a special care of; now in Rev. vii. 3, there are a number 
that are sealed, sealed inwardly by the Spirit of God, they are marked out 
for God ; they are a marked, sealed number, all those that God will have 
a special care of. As in Ezek. ix. 4, those that were marked in the fore- 
head, they were looked unto and cared for before the destruction came. 
So in Mai. iii. 17, God had jewels that he saith he would gather. When 



he brings a general destruction, he will be sure to gather his jewels; his 
first care is of them. ' A book of remembrance was written for them.' 
He hath a book of providence to write their names in. He hath their limbs, 
all the parts of them written ; not a hair of them can miscarry : their tears, 
their steps, their days are numbered. ' My times are in thy hands,' saith 
David, Ps, xxxi. 15. All things are numbered exactly of those that belong 
to God. He hath a care of them and all theirs to a hair ; as our Saviour 
Christ saith, they shall not lose so much as a hair of their heads. God 
hath an exact care of his remnant at all times. 

Obj. But you will say. Sometimes it falls out otherwise. 

Ans. Indeed, so it doth, for sometimes God's children are taken away in 
common judgments, perhaps for too much correspondency with the sins of 
the times ; therefore they are wrapped in the destruction of the times. 
But yet there is a main difierence between them. Jonathan and Saul died 
by the sword, both of them ; Josiah and others died in the field. But 
there is a main difference. Jonathan was a good man ; Saul, for aught 
the Scripture saith of him, we have no ground to judge charitably of him, 
but leave him to his judge. But sure it is in general, though the same 
things befall good and bad outwardly, yet there is a difference between 
Lazarus and Dives when they die. Dives goes to his place, and Lazarus 
to heaven. But for the most part this is true : in regard of the body of 
the church (though, some few members, God hath hidden ways to bring 
them to heaven and happiness ; but for the body of his church and dear 
children), ' he will give them their lives for a prey,' Jer. xxi. 9. He will 
have a special care of them and be a sanctuary to them. Nay, so far he 
will do it, that the world shall know that he hath a special care of them in 
the world ; as it is in the psalm, the heathen shall say, ' God hath done 
great things for them,' Ps. cxxvi. 2. Men that have no religion shall say, 
Certainly God doth great things for these men. Though he suffer them to 
be carried captive and to be in affliction, yet in that very affliction shall be 
the glory of the church, in that very bondage and abasement. Was the 
church ever more glorious than in Babylon, when Daniel was there, and 
the ' three young men ' were put into the fire ? The glory of the church 
ofttimes is in outward abasement. The world shall see that God hath a 
special care of them more than of others. God so magnifies himself, and 
is so marvellous to his church and children, to do good to them sometimes, 
to the envy of the enemies, and admiration of all the world that take notice 
of them, as at the return from the captivity ; and the like shall be at the 
conversion of the Jews. 

Use. The use of it may be, to comfort its against evil times, against the time 
to come. * Let us cast our care upon God ; he will care for us,' 1 Pet. 
V. 7. He will be with us and stand by us ; he will never forsake us in the 
worst times. Nay, his fashion is to deal with his children as becometh his 
infinite wisdom, that they shall find most comfort and sweetest communion 
with him in the hardest times. Therefore let us fear nothing that shall 
befall us with slavish fear, let us fear nothing whatsoever in this world, 
as long as we are in covenant with God, come what will. It is a great 
honour to God to trust him with all for the time to come. Let us do 
our duty, and not be afraid of this or that, as long, I say, as we have 
God in covenant with us, who is all-sufiicient. What should we be afraid 
of? ' Can a mother forget her child?' saith the prophet ; ' If she should, 
yet will I not forget thee ; thou art written on the palms of my hands,' Isa. 
xlix. 16. Those things that are in the palms of our hands we have ever 



in our eye. God hath us in his eye. He sets his children before him 
alway. How can he forget them ? How can Christ forget his church ? 
He carries them in his breast, as the high priest had the names of the 
twelve tribes on his breast in twelve precious stones, when he went into 
the holy of hohes. Christ carries our names in his heart ; how can he 
forget us then ? Let kingdoms dash one against another, and let the world 
tumble upon heaps ; let there be what confusion of states there will, God 
certainly will have a care of his jewels. ' I will leave,' in spite of all the 
world, ' in the midst of thee, an afflicted and poor people,' &c. 

Quest. You will say. When is this performed ? 

Ans. ' In that day,' saith he in the verse before my text. You must 
know it is the Scripture's fashion, when it saith, ' In that day,' to take it 
indefinitely, not to tie it to a certain day ; though there is a certain ?day 
wherein there shall be an accomplishment of all prophecies and a perform- 
ance of all promises, that is, at the last day. In the mean time, there is a 
gradual performance of promises, and the accomplishment of them is in 
several knots and points of time, so much as shall give content to God's 
children, yet always leading to a further and further performance. As, 
for example, God shewed mercy to these Israelites when they were in cap- 
tivity. He brought them home again. They were a poor and afflicted 
people, and were much bettered by their abasement. There was a degree 
of performance then. And then there was a degree of performance in 
Christ's time, when he joined the Gentiles to them, and both made one 
church. There will be a more glorious performance at the conversion of 
the Jews, when God shall make his people ' trust in the name of the Lord,' 
and the Gentiles shall come in and join with them, and they with the Gen- 
tiles. But that which follows in the verse after, ver. 13, ' The remnant shall 
do none iniquity, nor speak lies ; a deceitful tongue shall not be found in 
their mouth,' these things shall have their time, when the people shall 
be more thoroughly purged than ever they were ; and certainly these glorious 
portions of Scripture cannot have performance but in such days as are to 
come. But the accomphshment of all shall be at the day of judgment. 
Indeed, in the mean time, as I say, there is a comfortable performance, 
leaving us in expectation of further and further still ; because, while we live 
here, we are in a life of hope and expectation, and always we are under 
somewhat unperformed. So much for that. 

I come now to the state and condition of these people : 

* An afflicted and poor people.' 

This is their state and condition, wherein is implied also their disposition. 
Their state is, they are ' an afflicted and poor people.' So it is answerable 
to the original, ' an afflicted and impoverished people,' a weakened people. 
However, God hath a special care of his church in this world. Yet it is 
with exception of some crosses and afflictions, ' You shall have an hundred- 
fold,' saith Christ, ' in this life ;' but ' with tribulations and afflictions;' that 
must come in. But yet, notwithstanding, here is a blessing in this : for 
howsoever he leave them ' an afflicted and poor people,' yet he leaves them 
a people ; and though they be a people afflicted and poor, yet they are a 
people that are rich in God. They shall ' trust in the name of the Lord ;' 
of which I shall speak afterward. In that he calls them ' an afflicted and 
poor people,' hence we see, in the first place, that, 

Doct. The state of GocVs church and children in this world, for the most 
part, is to be afflicted and poor in their outward condition. 

THE POOR man's RICHES. 237 

I say, for the most part, we must not make it a general rule. It is a 
point rather to comfort us when it is so, than that it is alway so with the 
church. For howsoever they are always in some respects afllicted, they 
have alway something to abase them ; yet the times of the church are 
sometimes more glorious in the eyes of the world. They have the upper 
hand of the world sometimes. And sometimes again the children of God. 
they walk in the abundance of the comforts of the Holy Ghost, and increase 
and multiply, as it is in Acts ix. 31. When Saul was converted to be Paul, 
' the church increased and grew, and went on in the fear of the Lord, and 
the comforts of the Holy Ghost.' There be good days and times for the 
church sometimes ; but for the most part in this world, God's church and 
children are under some cloud. I will not enter into the common-place of 
it, but only touch it in a word or two. 

Reason 1. God will have it so, because it is Jit the body should be con- 
formable to the head. You know our blessed Saviour, when he wrought our 
salvation, he wrought it in a state of abasement, and we ' in working out 
that salvation,' in going to that salvation that he hath wrought for us, we 
must go to it, for the most part, in a state of abasement in one kind or 
other ; for we are chosen to be conformable to our head, and we are as well 
chosen to our portion in afflictions as to grace and glory. God hath set us 
apart to bear such a share and portion of troubles in this world, to suffer as 
well as to do. ' From my youth up,' saith the church, ' they have afflicted 
me; the ploughers have ploughed upon my back and make long furrows,' 
Ps. cxxix. 3 ; that is, from the infancy of the church, in all the growth of 
it, this hath been the state of the church, for the most part, to be afflicted 
and poor. 

Reason 2. And indeed, if we look to ourselves, by reason of the remainder 
of our corruptions, it is needful it should be so. God in wisdom sees it fit 
it should be so, that we should be afflicted and poor, because he sees that 
we can hardly digest any flourishing condition in this world. It is as 
strong waters to a weak stomach. However strong waters intoxicate them 
not, to make them drunk, yet they weaken the brain. So, however a good 
condition in the world doth not altogether besot men, yet it weakens them 
without a great measure of faith, and makes them forget God, and the con- 
dition of worldly things, how empty and vain they are ; and forget them- 
selves and their own mortality ; and forget others, what respect is due to 
them, as if the world were made only for them to toss and tumble in at 
their pleasure, to have all at their will, as if other men were scarce-:^ men 
to them. You see when men are trusted with great matters, they deal with 
other men as if they were not men, as if all were made for their pleasure. 
This is the nature of man in great eminency. It sets up its own desire for 
a ' god,' as if all other were beasts, and base, and nothing. It is a pitiful 
thing to consider what our nature is in this kind. Nay, take the best. 
Hezekiah, in his prosperity, he would needs shew his treasures to the king 
of Babylon, a fair booty for him. You know what it cost him afterward. 
Naturally we are prone to outward carnal excellency, too, too much. God 
knows it well enough. David would be numbering the people, that he 
might be conceited what a goodly number he had to fight against his ene- 
mies. God punished him you see in that kind. He took away that people 
that he made his confidence. God deals thus with his children in this 
world, because he sees a disposition in them that cannot digest, and manage, 

*■ That is, ' scarcely ' not = rare. — G. 


and overcome prosperity. They cannot command it as they should do, but 
are slaves to their own lusts, though they have a good measure of grace. 
We are prone to surfeit of the things of this life, and God is forced ; as it 
is in Ps. cxix. 75, ' of very faithfulness thou hast corrected me.' God, of 
very faithfulness, because he will be true to our souls and save them, he 
is forced to diet us and to keep us short of the things of this life ; to take 
away matter of pride and matter of conceitedness in carnal excellencies ; to 
make us know ourselves, and him, and the world, what it is ; the vanity 
of the world and worldly things. You see, then, God hath some cause to 
do it. 

Use. And ?(■(? may justify God when he any way abaseth us in this ivorld. 
He knows what he hath to do with us : let us leave that to him, so he save 
our souls, and sanctify them, and delight in us to heaven and happiness. 
If his pleasure be to diet us in this world, in regard of riches and greatness, 
that he do not answer our desires, but keep us under hatches, let us leave 
it to his will. He knows what to do with us, as the physician knows better 
what concerns the sick than the sick doth. Therefore, let us take in good 
part the wise dispensation of God. 

But why doth he join ' afflicted and poor' together ? Because poverty 
is affliction, and because affliction goes with poverty ? Poverty brings 
affliction. It brings abasement with it, and it is an affliction itself. For 
the poor man is trod on at all hands. Men go over the hedge where it is 
lowest. It is an affliction, and it goes with affliction. Therefore the apostle 
St Paul, Philip, iv. 12, he joins them together : * I have learned to want 
and to be abased.' Why ? Because a man that is in want in the world 
is usually abased. Every man scorns him that is in want. They look 
haughty and high over a man that hath any use of them. So that affliction 
and poverty usually go together. 

Those that God doth abase in this kind, let them consider that it is no 
otherwise with them than it hath been with God's people before. And let 
them labour for true riches : take advantage from their outward estate to 
be rich in a better way. 

In the next place, we may observe hence, that 

Doct. God sanctifies outward afiiiction and poverty, to help inward poverty 
of spirit. 

Poverty in outward condition helps poverty in the imyard disposition. 
In their state and condition is implied their disposition : poor for condition, 
and likewise in inward disposition, for that is implied here. The prophet 
doth not mean he will leave poor people that shall only be poor, for we see 
a world of poor and proud. A man, as he goes along in the streets, shall 
hear a company of poor that are the greatest rebels in the world against 
God ; that blaspheme and swear, that rail against magistrates and gover- 
nors. They are the most unbroken people in the world, the poorest and 
beggarliest, the refuse of mankind. As they are in condition, so they are 
in disposition. The Scripture speaks here of God's poor, not of the devil's 
poor, such as are poor every way, outwardly anid inwardly, and have their 
poverty as a just punishment of their wicked lives, and continue in that 
wicked life, having it not sanctified to them to make them desire better 
riches. Doth God esteem such poor ? No. But such poor and afflicted 
as, together with the meanness of their outward condition, have it sanctified 
to them ; so as they grow to be low and poor in their own esteem of them- 
selves, they grow to inward poverty of spirit, and so to seek to God, to seek 
for better riches, * to be rich in faith,' as the Scripture speaks, James ii. 5 ; 

THE POOR man's RICHES. 239 

ei3pecially such, and only such, are here meant. So then, mark the point 
here, that 

God sanctifies affliction and poverty for the inivard good of the souls of his 

Reason 1. This is the reason of it : outward poverty and affliction takes 
away the fuel that feeds pride, that is an opposite to spiritual poverty and 
humility, and sight of our wants. That which pride feeds upon, it is some 
outward thing, some outward excellency, that the flesh takes occasion by to 
swell, to over-ween itself, and to overlook all others. Now, when the fuel 
is taken away, the fire goes out. When the fodder and nourishment is 
taken away, those wanton steeds, you know, that grew fierce with pamper- 
ing, they grow more tractable. So it is with the nature of man. Take 
away that that makes him fierce, and then, when his fierce and high con- 
ceits are taken away, he will be tame. Take away that that feeds his 
carnal disposition, and he grows tractable and gentle. Thus then, affliction 
and poverty, outward in our condition, it helps to inward poverty of spirit 
and disposition ; for it takes away that which inflames the fixncy of a carnal 
man. A carnal man thinks himself as great and as good as he hath pos- 
sessions of the things of this life ; and the devil enlargeth his conceit more 
upon the imagination, to think these things to be a great deal greater than 
they are. We come afterward, by experience, to see them nothing but 
vanity. But this is in man without grace : we are pi'one, as I said, to 
surfeit of them. They are too strong for us to digest and overcome ; and 
therefore God takes them away, that he may help the inward disposition of 
our souls. 

Afflictions and poverty sanctified, they have a power to bring us to God, 
and to keep us in and to recover us when we are fallen. They bring us in, 
as we see in Manasseh and in the prodigal son. Affliction and poverty 
they brought him to know himself. They brought him home. He was 
not himself before. They brought him to inward poverty. When he 
could not be satisfied so much as with husks abroad, it was time for him 
to look home again. So when we are in the state of gi-ace, it keeps and 
pales us in : ' God hedgeth us in with thorns,' Hosea ii. 6, that we may 
not run out. And then, if we fall, it recovers us, and fetcheth us in again, 
by embittering sinful courses to us. We see, then, affliction and poverty 
is sanctified to God's children, to work an inward sight of their spiritual 

Use 1. Take notice, hence, of the poison and sinfulness of our corrupt 
nature, that defiles itself in the blessings of God ; so that God cannot 
otherwise fit us for grace, but by stripping of us of those things that are 
good in themselves. This should abase us very much, considering that 
those things that should be rises to us, to raise us up to God, that should 
be glasses to see the love of God in, our nature useth them as clouds to 
keep God from us, and to fasten and fix upon the things themselves ; so 
that there is no other remedy, but God must strip us naked of them. This 
consideration should humble us. 

Use 2. And let us make this use of it : let us know, when any abasement 
is sanctified to us, it comes from God's love. If we find any affliction make 
us inwardly more humble and tractable, and more pliable, certainly it comes 
from love, and is directed to our good ; and therefore it is in love, because 
it is directed to our good. For it is well taken away in earthly things, that 
is supplied in heavenly and spiritual. What if God takes away such out- 
ward honours, and respects, and riches, if God make it up in gi'aces that 


are eternal, that make us truly and inwardly good, which all the outward 
things in the world cannot do ! All the empires in the world cannot make 
a man an honest man. They may make him worse ; they may be snares 
to make him forget God and himself ; they may be a means of his damna- 
tion, without wondrous care. What if God take away a great deal of these 
things, and make them up in favours of a higher kind ! Therefore, if we 
find God sanctify any outward abasement for the inward good of our souls, 
let us bless him for it, and take it in good part as an evidence of his love ; 
for God thus deals with his children. He sanctifies their outward abase- 
ments for their inward good, to draw them nearer to himself. 

Use 3. Therefore, those that are weak in their condition, for a man may 
be poor in regard of his condition, though not inwardly poor, those that 
are broken in their condition outwardly, they may know whether it be in 
love or no, if they find tins condition sanctified to a better disposition. For 
as all things in general work to the best ' to them that love God,' Eom. 
viii. 28, so this is one : especial affliction and poverty work for good to 
them that love God. God sanctifies it to them for that end. 

Therefore we should examine when we are under any cross, see how it 
works upon us, whether b}^ it we are humbled or no, whether we join with 
God or no ; for those that belong to God have the grace of the Spirit to 
join with him in the work. When he afflicts them, they labour to afflict 
themselves ; when he goes to humble them outwardly, they humble them- 
selves ; when he goes about to make them poor, to wean them from the 
love of the world, they wean themselves and join with God. As we see 
the physician by his art and skill, when he sees nature working away, then 
he will help nature till the cure be wrought ; so God gives his Spirit to 
those that are his, to work with him. When God goes about to take them 
down, they will take down themselves too, and so they grow inwardly 
better, together with their outward abasement. 

Those therefore that 'swell, and storm, and murmur, and rage, what do 
they get but more stripes ! They get not out of trouble by it, but if they 
belong to God, they get stripes upon stripes. What doth the horse get at 
last by shaking ofi'his rider that is skilful ? More spurring and more strokes. 
So when men are under God's hand, afflicted any way, and labour not to 
make a good use of it, but will pull the rod out of God's hand and swell 
and pine, if they belong to God they get more stripes. Therefore let us 
kiss the rod, and the hand that holds it. God is about a good work, let 
him alone ; desire him rather to sanctify the visitation and abasement than 
remove it. A gracious heart desires rather the sanctification than the 

Use 3. Again, Hence we learn not to ' despise the brother of low degree,'' 
James i. 9, nor we should ' not have the faith of Christ in respect of per- 
sons,' James ii. 9. We should not take scandal at the church, that it is 
usually in a mean condition in this world, for the church is alway rich in 
another kind of riches. The church is rich in reversion. It hath heaven 
and happiness, and the church is rich in bills and promises. The church 
is rich in an apparent pledge, that is worth all the world besides ; that is, 
Christ. * If he have given us his Son, will he not with him give us all 
things else ? ' Rom. viii. 32. The church is rich in this world indeed, * for 
all things are yours, and you are Christ's,' 1 Cor. iii. 23, Christ carries 
riches for the church, and dispenseth them to the church as occasion serves. 
Indeed, Christ's riches are the church's riches. The church cannot be poor 
if Christ be rich. It is only a medicinal poverty. It is God's dispensation 



to fit them for better riches. As a ^vise physician he purgeth a foul body, 
till he bring it almost to skin and bone ; but why ? That having made it 
poor, there may be a spring of better blood and spirits. 

Let us take no offence therefore at God's dispensation, either towards 
others or ourselves, if we find him by his Holy Spirit sanctifying^that out- 
ward condition to a holy inward bent and disposition of soul to God-ward. 
It is a happy afliiction and poverty and abasement, whatsoever it be that 
draws us nearer to God, in whom we have more supply than we can want 
in the world. God never takes away anything from his children in this 
world, but he gives them more in better things. That is always his course. 
' The poor receive the gospel,' Mat. xi. 5. The gospel is preached to them, 
and they receive it ; those that by their outward abasements are brought 
to a sight of their spiritual wants, and thereupon to hunger after Christ. 

Again, In that this outward poverty helps to inward poverty oi the soul, 
outward atHictions help the inward disposition ; hence we see likewise this 
truth that 

Obs. Providence is serviceable to jyredestination and election. 

God in election hath a purpose to call us out of the world, to save our 
souls. Providence, that is a general government of all things in the world. 
Election is in order to salvation ; he hath chosen us to a supernatural end, 
and fits us for it by calling and sanctification. Now how doth providence 
serve the decree of election? Thus; whom God purposeth to save, to 
bring to an end above nature, he directs providence, so that all things shall 
serve for that end ; therefore he encourageth them with outward things, or 
takes outward things from them in his providence, as may serve his purpose 
in election to save their souls. He hath a purpose to _save them, there- 
fore providence works all things for their good, Rom. viii. 28. All thmgs, 
by the overruling providence of God, are serviceable to a higher degree of 
love that God bears to his children, to serve his purpose to bring them to 
heaven. Thereupon comes the dispensation of riches or poverty, honour or 
abasement. He takes liberty for outward things concerning this life, to give 
or take them as they may serve the spiritual and best good of his children. 

Use. Therefore God's children, when they see God intends their good 
in taking away the things of this life, in letting them blood, as it were, for 
their health, tJieij sJwuld bless God as ivellfor taking as for giving, as Job 
did. Job i. 21. And there is as great mercy and love hid in taking away 
blessings as in conveying of them. * I will leave an afflicted and poor 
people.' In the original it is poor and mild and gentle {a). Poverty of 
estate, and poverty of spirit, the disposition of soul, come almost in one 
word, and indeed in God's children they are joined together. For he 
sanctifies all dispensations and carriages of himself towards them. When 
God hath a purpose to save a man, everything shall help him homeward. 
And it is not a better outward argument to know a man's state in grace, 
than to see how the carriage of things serve God's purpose to do good to 
his soul, when we ourselves are bettered in our inward man by whatsoever 
befalls us. God complains of the Jews ; they were as ' reprobate silver,' 
Jer. vi. 30, because he had melted them, and they were never a whit the 
better ; they were like dross consumed in the melting. God's children are 
as gold refined. Those that find themselves refined and bettered, it is an 
evidence that they are God's ; because there is a providence serving their 
spiritual good, directing all things to that end. 

But from their condition, we come to the disposition implied, inward 
and spiritual poverty. 




1. Now this poverty is not a mere tvant of grace. To be poor in spirit is 
not to be poor of that spirit, or to be of a poor spirit. To be of a poor 
spirit is to have no goodness, no worth at alj, but to be of a dejected, base 
mind. God's children are not so. There are none more courageous than 
they, when they are called to it. It is not this poverty of spirit to have no 
goodness at all. But to be ' poor in spirit,' is a state and disposition of 
soul, that hath some goodness, wherein they see a want of farther goodness. 
They have so much goodness and worth, as to see an unworthiness in them- 
selves, and a greater worthiness out of themselves. They are sensible of their 
own want, and see they have no means of supply in themselves ; and they see 
an all-sufficiency out of themselves, in God, in Christ ; they see a necessity 
of dependence for supply out of themselves, in their whole condition till they 
come to heaven. In a word, this poverty is a sight of our own nothingness 
in ourselves, and besides that, our own inability, and a sight of sufficiency 
out of ourselves, and a desire of it ; and likewise a hope of supply from thence, 
which hope carries us to endeavour and to waiting till we have supply. 

2. This will better appear, if we distinguish of this poverty in spirit by 
the two degrees of it. There is a poverty of spirit before tee are in the state 
of grace, before we are in Christ ; and a poverty after. 

The poverty before we are in the state of grace, is, when God by his 
Spirit, together with his word and work of correction, doth open the eyes 
of our souls to see what we are by nature, what we are in ourselves. It is 
a work of God's convincing Spirit, to give us a true view into our own con- 
dition, and with the sight to work a sense ; and from a sight and sense 
and thorough conviction, comes a wondrous abasement, and a desire to be 
otherwise than we are. There is some hope in spiritual poverty in God's 
children before their conversion, which stirs them up to look upon Christ, 
and to the mercy of God in Christ ; and this stirs them up to beg, and to 
use all means ; and at length God is gracious and answers all the desires of 
their souls. This is before they were in grace ; for before a Christian is a 
sound Christian, he must be driven out of himself. Naturally we are prone 
to cleave to something, either out of ourselves or in ourselves, and we must 
be fired out by a sight and sense of the misery we are in. 

We see God hath taken this course alway in Scripture. This course he 
took with Adam. He cites him, arraigns him, condemns him. He lets 
him see what a miserable creature he was ; as no man on earth was ever 
so miserable, till he felt the sweetness of the promised seed. He that 
had been in so great happiness as he was, to have his conscience so galled 
as his was afterward, to feel such misery for the present as he did, he 
must needs be very miserable, as indeed he was the most miserable man 
that ever was since hisltime. It is the greatest unhappiness for a man to 
have been happy ; for his former happiness makes his present unhappiness 
more sensible.* When God had prepared him thoroughly, then he raised 
him up with the promised seed. God deals as he dealt with Elijah ; first, 
he casts him down with earthquakes and storms, and then he comes in a 
stiller voice. It is for that end that John Baptist comes before Christ, to 
level all, to cast down the ' mountains and fill up the valleys ;' Luke iii. 5, 
for all must be laid flat to Christ. We must lay ourselves at his feet, and 
be content to be disposed of by him, before we know what belongs to being 
in Christ. There must be poverty of spirit antecedent therefore. We see 
this lively set out in the prodigal son, that while he had anything in the 
world to content him, he never looks homeward ; but when he saw such an 
* This idea is largely dwelt upon in Pascal's ' Thoughts.'— Ed, 

THE POOR man's RICHES. 243 

emptiness in all things lie met with, that he could not be satisfied with 
husks, then he began to think of going home, and that there was some 
hope he had a father that would receive him. I will be short in this, 
because the other is mainly intended. 

If we would know and discern by some evidences whether we have been 
poor in spirit, in this preparative poverty or no, 

1. Let us consider ivhat ive have judged of our condition hj nature ; whether 
ever we have been convinced of the ill condition we are in ; for if there be 
not conviction of sin, there will not be conviction of righteousness, as you 
have it, John xvi. 8. There are three works of the Spirit, ' to convince of 
sin, of righteousness, and of judgment,' of spiritual government. The 
Spirit, before it convinceth us that we have the righteousness of Christ, and 
convinceth us of the necessity of government and holy life in Christ, which 
is called there judgment, he convinceth of sin, which is an antecedent work. 
Let us examine ourselves whether the Spirit have had such a work or no. 

2. Where this conviction and poverty is, a man sees an emptiness and 
vanity in all things in the icorld ivhatsoever, but in Christ. 

3. And there is a desire of the grace andfavonr of God above all things. 
Ask a poor man what he would have ; he would have that that may supply 
his poverty and want. Ask a man that is spiritually poor before he be in 
Christ ; what would you have ? Oh, mercy and pardon. Ofier him any- 
thing else in the world, it contents him not. But that will content him, 
the sense and persuasion of God's love and mercy in Christ Jesus. 

4. Where this poverty of spirit is, there will be a wondrous earnestness 
after pardon and mercy, and after grace. To be in another condition a man 
will labour, even as for life. If you come to a poor man that labours for 
his living, and ask him. Why do you labour so ? he will wonder at your 
idle question. I may starve else, he will say. A man that is spiritually poor, 
and sees what a state he is in, he labours in the use of means to have an 
inward sense of God's love, to find some beginnings of the new creature, 
to find a change, to be otherwise than he is ; he sees he must perish else. 
There is a prizing and estimation in him of mercy and pardon above all 
things in the world, and a making after it. 

5. It is alway joined likewise tvith a wondrotis abasing of himself. He 
thinks himself not worth the ground he goes on, till God hath mercy on 
him in Jesus Christ. This is not so sensible in those that are brought up 
in the church, or that have religious thoughts put into them continually in 
both kinds ; both concerning their own estate by nature, and withal con- 
cerning grace and mercy in Christ. Therefore grace is instilled into them 
by little and little, and the change is not so sensible. But where the conver- 
sion is anything sudden, from an ill course of life to a better, God works such 
a poverty of spirit before he bring a man to Christ. In Mat. v. 3, it is the 
beginning of all happiness, the blessedness that leads to the rest, ' Blessed 
are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' And indeed, 
those that are poor in spirit are blessed, though they have not yet the 
sense of God's love so much as they desire ; for this draws on all the rest, 
as I shall shew afterwards. To be poor in spirit therefore, is to see that 
we have no good in ourselves ; that we are beggars and bankrupts, and have 
no means to pay or satisfy ; and this stirs up desire and the use of means, 
and all the qualifications that follow there, ' hungering and thirsting after 
righteousness, mourning, and meekness.' For this will follow. A man 
that is poor in spirit, say what you will to him, he is so tractable and meek, 
let God do what he will with him so he give him grace ; if he will cast him 


down, so be it. * What shall we do to be saved ?' Acts xvi. 30, implying 
a pliableness to take any course ; he is willing to do or to suffer anything. 
And indeed there must be such a poverty of spirit, before we can believe 
in Christ, whereby we may be convinced of our debts and of our unability 
to pay those debts, and our misery ; that we are in danger to be cast into 
eternal bondage for them. 

1. There must be this before ; for else, 

(1.) We will never repair to Christ nor God's mercy in him. * The full 
stomach despiseth an honey comb,' Prov. xxvii. 7. "We will not relish Christ, 
nor value him as we should. 

(2.) Then again, without this, ive uill not be thanlifnl to God as we should 
he. Who is thankful to God but he that sees before what need he stands 
in of mercy and of every drop of the blood of Christ ? 

(3.) And then we will not be fruitful ; for who is so fruitful a Christian 
as he that is thankful ? And this depends upon the other. A Christian 
that was never truly cast down and laid low by the spirit of bondage, he is 
a barren Christian. The other having tasted of the love of God in Christ, 
the very ' love of Christ constrains him,' 2 Cor. v. 14, and he studies to 
be ' abundant in the work of the Lord,' 1 Cor. xv. 68, as St Paul saith, 
and every way to ' shew forth the virtues of him that hath called him out 
of darkness into marvellous light,' 1 Peter ii. 9. 

(4.) Again, this is the ground, when men are not sufficiently humbled 
before, that they fall away dangerously. It is the ground of apostasy, be- 
cause they did not feel the smart of sin. He that hath smarted for his 
estate before, and knows what it is to be in such a condition, he will be loath 
ever to come into the prison again. Therefore the ground of careful walk- 
ing is a sense of our unworthiness and misery. The more we are convinced 
of this, the more careful and watchful we will be, that we never come into 
that cursed condition again. 

(5.) And indeed it is an error in the foundation which is not mended in 
the fabric, as we say, when there is an error in poverty of spirit at the first, 
when the work of humiliation is not kindly wrought ; hence is the defect 
in all the whole carriage of a Christian. The foundation of God's building 
lies low ; he digs deep. God lays his foundation ofttimes as low as hell 
itself in a manner ; he brings his children to see that that he means they 
shall never feel, to see his wrath against sin, that so he may build upon 
this foundation. For Christianity it is an excellent frame ; it is a frame 
for eternity, a building for ever. Therefore it must have a sure founda- 
tion, which must be laid in humiliation and poverty of spirit. An error in 
the first digestion is not amended in the second ; if that be not good, the 
rest are naught. If there be not sound humiliation, nothing will be sound 
afterward. Therefore we should desire that God by his Spirit would help 
us more and more to know what we are in ourselves, that we may get to be 
what we are in Christ. 

2. But there is a continual frame and disposition of soul, which is a 
poverty in spirit that accompanies God's children all the days of their life till 
they be in heaven, till they enjoy that riches that is laid up there for them ; 
and that is especially here meant. And indeed it is an ingredient into all 
the passages of salvation. 

(1.) For in justification there must he a poverty of spirit, to make us see 
that there is no righteousness in ourselves, or that can come from us, that 
is able to stand against the law and against the justice of God ; all is defiled 
and spotted and unanswerable. And upon this poverty and apprehension 

THE POOR man's RICHES. 245 

of what is defective in ourselves, comes an admiration of that righteousness 
of Grod in Christ— for it is of God's devising, and of God's approving, and 
of God's working, Christ being God and man— to force us^ every day to 
renew our right in the righteousness of Christ, and to be ' found in hini.' 
There is such a poverty of spirit as to account all ' loss, and dross,' Phil, 
iii. 8, and nothing ; to be willing to part with all to be found in Christ, 
' not having our own righteousness, but that which is of God in Christ,' as 
Paul divinely speaks, ver. 9. So it is necessary in that main_ passage, of 
justification, to be ' poor in spirit ;' that is, to see a defect in our own 
righteousness, to stand opposite to God's justice, who is 'a consuming 
fire.' It is requisite in regard of our daily living by faith in justification. 

(2.) In the whole course of sanctification there must of necessity be 
poverty of spirit ; that is, a sense that we have no sanctifying grace of our- 
selves, but we must fetch it from the fulness of Christ, whose fulness is for 
us : 'of his fulness we receive grace for grace,' John i. 16. 

The ground of this is, that now in the covenant of grace all is of grace, 
both in justification and sanctification ; all is of grace, nothing but grace. 
God hath set himself to get the glory of his free grace and mercy now in 
Jesus Christ. Therefore as our salvation is wrought out of us altogether 
by our surety, the ' second Adam,' Christ ; so our righteousness is alto- 
gether out of ourselves, whereby we appear righteous before God. It is 
his, and given to us by marriage ; being one with him, his righteousness 
is ours. And likewise in him we have the principle of all grace. He is 
the principle of our life, the root and foundation of spiritual life and sanc- 
tification : 'Without me you can do nothing,' John xv._ 5. So that in 
Christ we have all that concerns our spiritual life in sanctification and jus- 
tification, because it is a state of grace. Adam had it in himself. Though 
God at the first clothed him with his image, yet notwithstanding he had 
not such a necessity as we have to go to Christ for all ; but now in the 
' second Adam,' Christ, we must fetch grace for everything from him. 
Therefore there must be poverty in regard of our knowledge — we have no 
spiritual knowledge of ourselves — and poverty in regard of our afi^ections. 
We have no joy, no peace, no comfort of ourselves, no delight in good 
things, nor no strength to them ; we have all from Christ. ' By grace,' 
saith the apostle, ' I am what I am,' 1 Cor. xv. 10 ; as if grace had given 
him his being, his form, as we say. Indeed, so it doth ; grace gives a 
Christian his form and being, his work and his working, for all working is 
from the inward being and form of things. By grace we are what we are 
in justification, and work what we work in sanctification. It is by what 
we have freely from Christ. Therefore in that respect there must be 
poverty of spirit. 

Nay, I say more ; in every action when we are in the state of grace, and 
have had the beginnings of the new creature in us, there needs poverty of 
spirit, in regard of our own inability to perform every action. For even 
as it is in our form— the life and soul, there is need of it in every moving 
and stirring— so there is a need of the spirit of grace, which is as the form 
and life and being of a Christian, to every holy action. ' In him we live, 
and move, and have our being,' saith the apostle, Actsxvii. 28. _ ' In him,' 
that is, in ' God reconciled to Christ,' we have not only our being, that is, 
our form, but in him we ' live and move' to every particular act. We are 
no wiser in particular things than God makes us on the sudden ; the wisest 
man will be a fool if God leave him to his own wit. We are no stronger 
i n every particular act that needs strength than God supplies us with spin- 


tual strength. We are no holier than God by his Spirit shines on us, and 
raises our souls in particular actions. So that it is not only necessary that 
we have grace at the first to make us Christians, but we must have a per- 
petual regiment * of the Spirit, from whence we must have an influence to 
every particular act. Though we have grace, yet we cannot bring forth 
that grace to act without new grace. Even as trees, though they be fitted 
to bear fruit, as the vine, &c., yet without the influence of the heavens 
they cannot put forth that fitness in fruits ; so though we be fitted by the 
Spirit of God, yet we cannot put it forth to particular acts when occasion 
serves, without the influence of Heaven to promote and further that grace ,-. 
and applying our spirits to every holy action by removing the impediments 
that would hinder it, adding new supply and strength to help grace. If 
the temptations be too strong, as sometimes they are, former grace will not 
serve, without a new supply of strength. As he that may carry a lesser 
burden cannot carry a greater without new strength, so in every tempta- 
tion there is required more strength than the former; and in every new- 
action there is required not only a continuance of grace, but a fresh supply 
of stronger grace. 

And for want of this, the best of God's saints have fallen foully. Though 
they have had grace in them, yet, notwithstanding, the Spirit had left them 
to themselves in regard of new supply, because they have been conceited ; 
they have not been poor enough in spirit. As Peter, he was conceited of 
his own strength : ' Though all men forsake thee, yet I will not,' Mat. 
xxvi. 33. This conceit moved God in mercy, as well as in justice, to leave 
him to himself, that by his fall he might learn to stand another time, and 
not trust his own strength. The best of us all, I say, when there is any- 
thing to be done, we had need of a fresh influence of grace, and a fresh 
light to shine upon us. 

It should force perpetual poverty of spirit, to see the want that is in 
ourselves, and the supply that is out of ourselves, and to make use of that 
by going out of ourselves, and making towards him in whom is all our 
supply. In all our communion we have with God, which is the ha,ppiness 
of our estates, this frame and disposition of soul, to be poor in spirit, it is 
necessary in every act. Even in our very prayers for grace, we are so void 
of it, that we want ability to call for what we want. We must have that 
from the Spirit, not only grace, but that disposition of soul which carries 
us to God. A spirit fitting us to pray, that must be also given us ; we 
know not what to call for. We of ourselves are so poor, that we not only 
want grace and ability to action, but we have not ability to ask ; but God's 
Spirit must dictate our prayers, and give us motions, and make us sensible 
of our wants, and must enable our faith to cherish those graces, and make 
us go out of ourselves even in our very prayers. What a state is this, 
then ! Had we not need to be ' poor in spirit ' all our lifetime, that have 
not so much as ability to go out of ourselves for supply from another, but 
that must come from Christ too ? As St Augustine, who was a great 
advancer of the grace of God, and an abaser of man ; he had indeed St 
Paul's spirit, saith he, ' We should boast and glory of nothing, because 
nothing is ours ' (h). We have need of this poverty of spirit in the whole 
tenure of our Christian life. 

Again, in the actions of this life, how pitifully do we miscarry, because we 
think we have witf and strength enough, and set upon things in our own 
wit and strength, we speed and have success answerable. Where the 
* That is, ' government.' — G. f That is, ' wisdom. — G. 

THE POOK man's RICHES. 247 

beginning is confidence, the end is shame, of any business even of this life. 
What is the reason that ofttimes the great and weighty business of this life 
have not answerable success ? Many times it falls out so ; as one said of 
general councils, they seldom were successful, because men came with 
confidence and wit for victory rather than truth.* Certainly there is less 
success in great matters, because men come with self-confidence. There- 
fore it is a good sign that God means to bless great businesses, when he 
puts it into the hearts of those that are agents in them to seek him in the 
afiairs of this life. We must be poor in spirit to see that the carriage and 
success comes from him. 

Well, so it is in sufiering likewise. We cannot sufiier the least cross of 
ourselves but with murmuring and repining, without strength from him. 
When Moses came to the 'waters of strife,' Moses' spirit was discovered. 
He could not endure the harshness and rebellion of the people. Num. xx. 13. 
A Christian comes sometimes to such opposition that his spirit is moved, 
and he discovers much corruption. It is so with the best men. Even 
Moses, a meek man, when he had such temptations and provocations, it 
moved him. We must labour to get a greater spirit than our own, to have 
the Spirit of God to work this spiritual poverty in us. 

This poverty of spirit, as we call it, is spirit uale vacimm, spiritual empti- 
ness. You know in philosophy there is nothing empty in the world, but 
it is filled either with air or some kind of body, and to avoid the enemy of 
nature, emptiness, things will change their seat ; heavy things will go up- 
ward, and things that are above will come below to avoid emptiness ; that 
is contrary to nature, there being a fulness of things with one body or 
other. So, I say, spiritual poverty, it is an emptying of the soul, which of 
force alway bring better things in. Wheresoever this emptying of the soul 
is, this making of ourselves poor, it is upon good ground by this course. 
It is always such a vacuum and emptiness of one thing that brings in 
another better. The soul can never be altogether empty. When wind and 
vain stufi" is out, then comes better things in, which St Paul calls ' the ful- 
ness of God.' He prays and wishes that they might ' be filled with the 
fulness of God,' Col. ii. 9. Then comes fulness of knowledge and under- 
standing, and fulness of afi'ection, and fulness of contentment, and com- 
placency in the will ; and all the soul hath an answerable fulness to the 
proportion of the emptying itself of itself. 

In the next place, let us come to discover this disposition of poverty of 
spirit where it is, and then shew some helps to it. 

1. First, To discover where this blessed frame of 'soul is. Surely those 
that are thus poor in spirit they are full of inaijer. 'The poor man speaks 
supplications,' as the wise man saith, Prov. xviii. 23 ; that is his dialect. 
The poor man is much in prayer. He that is ' poor in spirit ' is much in 
supplication ; for prayers, they are the ambassadors of the poor soul to 
God to supply it with the riches of his grace. Therefore where there is no 
prayer there is no sense of poverty, but there is a Laodicean temper, as if 
they were rich enough. You have a company of men, they say they can- 
not pray privately, their spirits are barren. They intimate much pride of 
spirit, for if a man be sensible of his wants you need not supply him with 
words. If a poor tenant came to a landlord, and find he hath a hard 
bargain, let him alone for telling his tale ; I warrant you he will lay open 
the state of his wife and children, and the ill year he hath had ; he will be 
eloquent enough. Take any man that is sensible of his wants, and you 

. Vol. III. p. 436.— G. 


shall not need to dictate words to him. There is no man that hath a 
humble and broken heart, though he be never so illiterate, but he will have 
a large heart to God in this kind. 

2. Again, there is a care of using all means. Where poverty is, there 
will be a making out of ourselves unto places where God bestows any 
riches. They that are poor, and have no victuals at home, they will go to 
market rather than they will starve ; and those that find in themselves 
want of grace and comfort, surely they will go out of themselves : they 
will go to God's market, they will attend upon the means. He that is like 
to be arrested for debt, and hath nothing at home, it is time for him to 
seek abroad for supply. So, when a man is poor spiritually, ready to be 
snared and catched in everything for want of spiritual grace, he will labour 
for strength in the use of all means. Therefore those that are of a Lao- 
dicean stamp, that think there is too much preaching, and too much hear- 
ing, and too much reading, and what need all this ado ? alas ! they were 
never humbled ; they were never sensible of their state by nature ; nor are 
not yet in the state of grace. For the soul of a true Christian is alway in 
the state of spiritual poverty, as that it relisheth spiritual means and is not 
fed with husks. A soul that is spiritually poor will discern in the use of 
means, this is flourishing ; this is for the ear ; this is conceits ; alas ! it 
comes for food for supply. A poor soul that finds the want of grace, and 
strength, and comfort, it judgeth of the means by what it finds. There 
will be a use of all means, and likewise some ability to taste where there is 
true poverty of spirit. 

3. Again, Where this inward poverty of spirit is, it will make God's 
children xi-ondious thnnkfid, and thankful for a little grace. A poor man 
that is sensible of his poverty will be more thankful for a penny, than 
another man for a pound that hath money of his own. A soul that sees 
the want of grace, and withal sees the excellency of grace, is thankful to 
God that he will work anything in such a poor defiled soul as he is ; that 
he will work any good motions, any good afiections, any degree of faith, 
that he will give him any assurance of salvation. Oh he thinks what a 
good God is this ! He breaks out with the apostles, Peter and Paul, that 
had both been sinners themselves and found grace ; oh they were much in 
thankfulness ! ' Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,' &c.* 
A thankful soul is a poor soul, and a poor soul is alway a thankful soul. 
He that is poor he knows he hath little and deserves little ; therefore 
knowing that he deserves nothing, he is thankful for and content with 
anything. A humble man is alway thankful, and that is the reason that 
God may have his glory from him. He is forced sometimes to humble and 
abase him. He should have no sacrifice from him else. A proud man, a 
conceited man, so doats upon his own worth ; he forgets the giver, he 
makes himself an idol to him. Therefore such, they are usurpers of what 
they have, they enter upon God's blessings, not considering from whom 
they have them, nor for what end they have them. They deny God his 
tribute of thankfulness because they are proud. But a man that is poor 
in spirit, he enters upon all by title of gift, and receives all from God in 
the form of a poor man. Therefore whatsoever he hath he returns thanks 
for it again. An unthankful soul, therefore, is a proud soul. A thankful 
soul is an humble abased soul alway ; and the more humble and empty the 
soul is, the more thankful it is for every degree of grace and comfort. 

4. Again, A soul that is thus disposed, that is poor in spirit, it is willing 

* Cf. Eph. i. 3, and 1 Peter i. 3.— G. 



to resign itself to Clirisf s government , trith self-denial of anything it is able to 
do of itself. It is ready to say, * Lord, I have neither witf of mine own to 
govern myself, nor any strength and ability of mine own ; therefore I put 
myself upon thy government, I desire to follow thy light and to go on in 
thy strength.' There is alway a resignation to Christ's government, and 
that in fear and trembling ; for whom we resign ourselves unto, surely we 
will have a care not to displease them. A dependent life is alway an awfulf 
life ; for when a man hath resigned himself to the government of another, 
and knows he must depend upon him, he will have a care not to displease 
such an one ; for he thinks, if I displease him he will withdraw his main- 
tenance and countenance from me, and then what am I ? So the soul that 
thinks it hath all from God, and from the Spirit of Christ, it resigns itself 
to the Spirit of Christ, and withal it is wondrous fearful not to grieve and 
displease the Spirit. For he thinks with himself, my life is but a depen- 
dent Hfe, my graces are but dependent ; let God but withdraw the beams 
of his Spirit and I sink ; let him withdraw his comfort and his strength, 
■what am I ? Nothing but darkness, and deadness, and confusion. Those 
therefore that give not themselves up to Christ's government, but are 
governed by rules of policy, by the example of others, and have base 
dependence upon others, they know not what spiritual poverty is. They 
see there is a sufficiency in themselves to rule and govern themselves, as if 
Christ's wisdom were not sufficient. They are not so disposed as the 
apostle requires ; they ' work not out their salvation with fear and trem- 
bling, because God gives the will and the deed,' PhiHp. ii. 12. The meaning 
is this, we should work out our salvation with a holy fear and trembling, 
a jealous fear, a son-like fear, lest we displease God. Why? 'He gives 
both the will and the deed,' Philip, ii. 13. He gives both the will to do 
good ; and when he hath done that, he gives the ability of the deed itself. 
We cannot do anything, therefore we had need to walk in an awful condi- 
tion, and not displease him in anything, lest he withdraw the assistance of 
his Spirit and leave us to ourselves ; and then we shall fall, to his dishonour, 
to the discredit of religion, to the wasting of our own comfort, and the 
advantage of Satan. This is the temper of a man that is poor in spirit. 
He gives himself up to Christ's government, and depends upon it ; and 
thereupon he is wondrous fearful to displease him in anything. 

There are a company that know not what belong to this, that hope to 
be saved by Christ, and yet they will grieve the Spirit ; they will venture 
into any place, upon any sight, into any company : but if ever they had 
been acquainted with the government of Christ's Spirit, they would know 
what it was to grieve the Spirit, and the Spirit would grieve them too. It 
is a sign they have not the Spirit of God, because he doth not check them 
when they have done. Therefore your adventurous careless persons, that 
are indifferent for all things, for all companies and places, that do not 
watch over themselves, and over their words and carriages, they have not 
this poverty of spirit. For then they would know what it were to displease 
God in anything, to walk and to speak loosely, because hereby they grieve 
the Spirit ; and would presently find either want in grace or comfort. 
There is not one of many that are acquainted with the nature of this 
spiritual communion with God, and therefore they do not enjoy the happi- 
ness that those do, who are thus qualified, that are * poor in spirit.' 

5. Again, A man that is poor in spirit is very tractable, as it is in Isaiah : 
' A child shall lead them.' ' The lamb and the hon shall feed together,' 
* That is, ' wisdom.'— G. t That is, ' a life fuU of awe.'— G. 



&c., ' and a child shall lead them,' Isa. xi. 6 ; that is, such an one, you 
shall lead him with any counsel, let the person be never so mean ; having 
smarted for his sins, and his own counsel and ways, ' a child shall lead 
him,' that is, any man shall lead and move him to that which is good, he 
stands not upon terms. 

6. And alway he that is poor in spirit, he is no upbraider of other men's 
wants. He is more sensible of his own than that he sees in other men. 
He is not prone to upbraid and object against them their wants and con- 
ditions, he is so taken up with the sense of his own. 

7. And lastly. He that is poor in spirit is humbled in himself for spiritual 
wants ; not so much for outward things, but because he hath not a large 
heart to God, because he finds impatience, because he finds not that 
heavenly-mindedness and strength to go through the duties that God 
requires, that his flesh is so backward ; these things abase him and bring 
him on his knees, and not so much outward things ; and answerably he 
looks for spiritual supply. When a man is humble and poor in spirit he 
is not abased with any outward thing, that that he would have is mercy 
and grace. The apostle, when he would pray for all happiness to the 
churches, he prays for grace, mercy, and peace ; for as they are more 
sensible of their spiritual wants, so they are carried in their desires after 
that that may give them satisfaction that way. 

Use. Let us labour to brimj our souls to this blessed temper, to be poor in 
spirit ; the happy temper that our Saviour began his preaching withal. 
The first thing that he falls upon is, ' Blessed are the poor in spirit, for 
theirs is the kingdom of heaven,' Mat. v. 3. But before I come to any 
directions for the getting this spiritual poverty, we must know and pre- 
mise this caution, that we must not be so ' poor in spirit,' as to deny the 
work of grace in our hearts. It is one thing to be ' poor in spirit,' and 
to see our wants ; and it is another thing to be unthankful and unkind ; to 
deny the work of grace, and so to gratify Satan. We must not give false 
witness against ourselves, and so deny the work of God's Spirit in us. It 
is not poverty, but darkness of spirit. We are not acquainted with that 
grace that God hath enriched us with. Therefore where the soul is in a 
right temper, there is a double eye, one to see the defects and the stains of 
those graces we have ; to see what we are wanting in of what we should 
be, and to see how our graces are stained, and that there is a mingling of 
our corruptions with them. The viewing with the one eye, that we have 
any grace, that should make us cheerful, and thankful, and comfortably go 
on, considering that there are some beginnings that God will perfect ; for 
he never repents of his beginnings. And then a sight of the want, and of 
the stains of those graces that we mingle our corruptions with them ; that 
works again this poverty of spirit to go on still out of ourselves, to desire 
grace, to purge and cleanse ourselves more and more. Therefore, I beseech 
you, let us remember that, that we do not unthankfully deny the work of 
grace, and think that to be poverty of spirit, as some do out of covetous- 
ness, because they have not that they would have, they think they have 
nothing at all ; that is a spiritual covetousness. But let us be wise to 
discern what God hath wrought in our hearts, what he hath done for and 
in our souls. A holy man, you shall have him much in mourning and 
complaining, but it is of himself, not of God, as if God were wanting to 
him. You shall have a holy man in a perpetual kind of despair, but it is 
in himself ; he hopes in God still. Remember this caution, that as we 
complain, so let us be sure it be of ourselves ; alway justify God in his 



mercy ; and if we despair, let us despair of ourselves, that we can do 
nothing of ourselves. But be sure to maintain, all we can, the hope of 
God's rich mercy in Christ. 

Now, having premised this caution, the way to come to spiritual 
poverty among many others is : first, to bring ourselves into the presence 
of God, to the presence of greater lights than our own. Men that think 
themselves somebody when they are alone ; yet when they consider God 
sees them, whose eyes are a thousand times brighter than the sun, then 
they learn to abhor themselves in ' dust and ashes,' as we see Job did when 
God talked with him, when he saw God, Job xlii. 6 ; and Abraham when 
he talked with God, he accounts himself dust and ashes, Gen. xviii. 27. 
Let us bring ourselves into the presence of God ; consider his holiness, 
his justice. And withal let us bring ourselves to greater lights than our 
own ; that is, oft come into the company of those that have greater grace 
than ourselves. The stars give no light when the sun is up. The stars 
are somebody in the night, but they are nothing in the day. And those 
that are conceited of their own excellencies, when they come into the pre- 
sence and company, and converse with those that are better than them- 
selves, their spirits fall down, they are abased. It is a good course therefore 
not to love alway to be best in the company, as is some men's vanity, 
because they will be conceited of their own worth, but to present ourselves 
before God in his ordinances, and present ourselves in communion and 
fellowship with others that are greater and richer in grace than ourselves, 
and so we may see our own wants. This is one direction to get spiritual 

2. Again, That we ma^ come to be poor in spirit, let us consider what 
we are, that %ce are creatures. The term whence creation begins is just 
nothing. It is so in the creatures in the world. God made all of nothing, 
and is it not so in the new creature much more ? Therefore if I will be 
anything in myself as of myself, surely I must look to no creature of God's 
making. For grace is God's creature. Therefore it must rise of nothing; 
there must be a sight of our own nothingness. Indeed a Christian in him- 
self is nothing now in the state of grace. Whatsoever he is for grace or 
glory, it is out of himself. He hath nothing in himself as of himself ; all 
that he hath he hath from Christ. He is poor in himself, but he hath 
riches enough in Christ, if he sees his own poverty. He is a sinner in 
himself, but he hath righteousness enough in Christ, if he sees his sins. 
Let us know that this is a qualification to interest us in the good that is in 
Christ. We renew our right in Christ no otherwise than we renew the 
sense of our own poverty and want. Would we see all in Christ, that we 
have riches, and wisdom, and happiness, and favour, and life, and all in 
him ? With the same spiritual eye of the soul, let us see that we have 
nothing in ourselves ; for I can no otherwise renew that right and interest 
I have in Christ, but by renewing this sight. We altogether shine in the 
beams of our husband. The consideration of this will be a means to work 
our care and endeavour towards it; that we are creatures, ' new creatures;' 
and therefore we must rise of nothing in ourselves, and we must be main- 
tained and supported by the new Adam, ' the second Adam,' and have 
fresh grace from him continually. * We move and live in him,' as I said 

3. Again, That we may be poor in spirit, help ourselves ivith presenting 
to ourselves abasing, emptying considerations. What be they ? Among the 
rest reflect our minds back to what we were before God shewed mercy upon 


US ; how unprofitably we spent our days ; what a deal of good we left 
undone that we might have done. For the present, consider the imper- 
fections that hang upon us, whereby we even defile the best performances 
that come from us. Let us have in the eye of our soul presented our 
special corruptions for the present. For the time to come let us present 
to our souls what will become of us ere long; that for outward things, that 
nature is prone to be highly conceited of, they shall lie in the dust. These 
bodies of ours must lie low in the dust ; all other things must be taken 
from us, and we from them, we know not how soon. Let us oft think and 
consider of the vanity of all things, what will all things be ere long. They 
must all come to nothing. The fire will consume all that is glorious in 
the world. There will be no excellency but the excellency of Christ, and 
his church and children ; and think of the day of judgment. What will 
stand for current then? Think of the time of our dissolution, how we 
shall appear before Christ; what we have in us that will give us confidence 
at that day and time, to look upon him with comfort ; that those thoughts 
of the time to come, of death, and judgment, and eternity may not be 
frightful to us. The consideration of these things will make us to look 
about us, and make us indeed ' poor in spirit.' 

Especially let us consider what our profession requires of us ; not by the 
law, let that go ; but what in the covenant of grace we should be, and are 
not, it will shame the best of us. Alas ! how much good might we have 
done that we have not ! How have we failed in bringing honour and 
credit to our profession ! How barren have we been in good works ! 
How unwatchful over our thoughts and speeches, whereby we have stained 
our religion and our consciences, and grieved the Spirit of God. Let us 
consider how short we are of that we might have been ; and this will bring 
inward shame and confusion of spirit, from whence this temper of 
poverty of spirit comes. Consider of these things, and enlarge them in 
your own meditations. There is not a more fruitful spending of our 
thoughts, next to the consideration of Christ, and the riches we have in 
him, than to consider what we are in ourselves ; that we may be in a 
perpetual disposition of soul, fit to receive the good that is to be had in 

Two graces are the main graces that must go along with us all the days 
of our lives ; this grace to go out of ourselves ; and another grace to go to 
another that is better than ourselves, in whom lies our happiness. That 
we may go out of ourselves and the creature, and all that is in the creature, 
poverty of spirit is necessary, to see that there is not that in ourselves that 
will yield a foundation of comfort, and poverty of spirit sees that there is 
not that that we possess in the creature that will stand out. The creature, 
that is a particular good, for a particular case, to supply a particular want, 
and but for a time, it is fading and outward; but the comfort we must have 
it must be spiritual and universal, to give contentment to the soul. The 
consideration of these things will force us to go out of ourselves ; this 
poverty of spirit, that we have not enough to make us happy. The heathen 
men, by the use of discretion and knowledge, had so much to see that there 
is nothing in the world to make man happy ; the negative part they knew 
well enough. But there must be another grace to carry us to a positive 
happiness where that lies, and that is the grace of trust that follows. * I 
will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people,' that shall be 
disposed and prepared by their outward poverty to inward spiritual poverty ; 
to go out of themselves to Christ, to trust in him. 

THE POOR man's kiches. 253 

' And tliey shall trust in the name of the Lord.' 

This is the carriage of these poor and afflicted people. * They shall trust 
in the name of the Lord.' 

God hath no delight in afflicting his children ; he joys and delights in 
the prosperity of his children. It is our sinful nature that forceth him to 
afflict us, that he may wean us from the world, because we are prone to 
surfeit upon things here below. All that God doth is that w^e may trust in 
him, which we would never do unless he did afflict us, and make us ' poor 
in spirit ;' but when we are afflicted and poor in spirit, and have nothing 
at home, we will make out abroad, as people in necessity will do. Supply 
must be had, either at home or from without ; and when the soul is beaten 
and driven out of itself, which requires much ado, then we are fit for this 
blessed act here spoken of, to ' trust in the name of the Lord.' And the 
one is an evidence of the other. How shall we know that we are suffi- 
ciently humbled and made poor in spirit ? When we trust in the name of 
the Lord, 

In the unfolding of these words, take these for grounds ; which I will but 

First, That naturally every man will have a trust, in himself, or out of 

Secondly, That God is the trust of the poor man ; what he wants in 
himself he hath in God. God is the rock or the castle to which he retires. 
He hath supply in him. 
The third is, that 

Obs. God is trusted as he is known. They shall ' trust in the name of 
the Lord.' For God can be no otherwise trusted than he hath made his 
will known. It is presumptuous boldness to challenge anything of God 
that we have not a promise for ; or to attribute that to him that he is not. 
God is therefore trusted as he hath made himself by some name known to 
us. He hath made himself known by his attributes, by his nature and 
essence, Jehovah ; and by his word, and the promises in his word. For 
his word is one of the best and sweetest names whereby he hath made him- 
self known. The name of God is glorious in all the world, in the creation ; 
and every creature hath a tongue to shew forth the power, and wisdom, and 
goodness of God. But what is this to us, if we know not the will of God 
toward us ? There is the name of God discovered ; what he is in himself ; 
something of his power and wisdom, &c. But what he is to us, gracious, 
and merciful, and sweet ; that we must gather out of the discovery of his 
own breast. He must come out of that * light that none can attain unto,' 
1 Tim. vi. 16, and discover himself as he hath done in his word; and by 
this name of God, his word, we come to make use of his other names. The 
next thing I will speak of is the improvement of God when he is known, to 
trust in him, to pitch our trust and confidence upon him. ' They shall 
trust in the name of the Lord.' 

Ohs. For there must be an application of the soul to God. We must lay 
our souls upon God. Though he be a rock, yet we must lay our souls upon 
him ; and though he be a foundation, yet we must build upon him and his 
truth revealed. There is an adequate comfort in God and in the Scrip- 
tures, and superabundant too to all our necessities whatsoever. It transcends 
them all. There is more in the spring than we want ourselves. Yet not- 
standing there must be grace in the soul to repair to God. There must be 
an hand, an empty beggar's hand, such as faith is, to reach that help that 
God yields. There must be a wing to fly to our tower. The wing of the 


soul is this trust and faith ; and when these two meet, faith or trust, and 
God, what a sweet meeting is there ! For emptiness and fulness, poverty 
and riches, weakness and strength, to meet together, these will grasp 
sweetly ; for the excellency and all-sufficiency of the one, and the necessity 
of the other meeting together, breeds a sweet correspondency. We must 
' trust,' therefore, in the name of the Lord. That is the way to improve 
whatsoever is in God for our good. 

Faith, the nature of it is, after it hath applied itself to the grounds of 
comfort, to draw virtue and strength from God. Of itself it is the most 
beggarly grace of all. Love is a rich grace, but yet notwithstanding in the 
covenant of grace, wherein grace and mercy must have the glory, God hath 
established such a grace to rule there as ascribes all out of itself, and is an 
empty grace of itself, to make use of the riches that is out of itself ; there- 
fore God hath made choice of this trusting instead of all other graces, as 
indeed leading, to all other graces whatsoever. God brings us home by a 
contrary way to that we fell from him. How did we fall from God at the 
first, that was our rock, our defence, and trust ? We fell from him by dis- 
trust, by having him in a jealousy, as if he aimed more at himself than at 
our goods. So the devil persuaded our first parents. The next way, there- 
fore, to come back again to God, it must be to have a good conceit of 
God, not to have him in jealousy, but to be convinced in our souls that he 
loves us better than we can love ourselves, in spite of the devil and all his 
temptations. So to trust God is to rely upon him in life and death. 
Therefore God hath appointed this grace, as he saith here, ' They shall 
trust in the name of the Lord.' 

Now, because we all pretend we trust in the name of the Lord, we will 
first examine our trust. Let us try our trust a little, that we may see 
whether it be true trust or no. And then upon that we will give some 
directions how to come to this blessed condition, to trust ' in the name of 
the Lord.' 

For the first : I do not take trust here for the first faith, which is the 
grace of union to receive Christ ; but for the exercise of faith afterwards in 
a Christian's life. So we speak of it as a fruit rather that comes from 
faith. And we may know our trust in the name of the Lord, being now 
conceived as a gracious Father in Christ, clothed with the relation of a 
father : for so we must trust him, not God absolutely, for there is no com- 
fort in an absolute God, distinct from his relations ; but when we appre- 
hend him in relation as a sweet Father in Christ, in that name, then the 
nature of God is lovely to us, between whom and us there was an infinite 
distance before. Now Christ being Immanuel, God with us, has brought 
God and us together in terms of league. Now our nature is lovely to God 
in Christ, because it is taken to the unity of his person ; and God's nature 
is lovely to us, having made himself a Father in Christ his beloved Son. 
Therefore, when we speak of God, our thoughts must run upon God as thus 
conceived, as clothing himself with a sweet term of Father, om* God in 
covenant, we must so apprehend him. 

1. Now one evidence of this trust in this our God, is a care to please 
him in all things. When we depend upon any men, tve have a care to please 
them. A tenant that fears to be thrust out, will strive to please his land- 
lord. W^e that hold all upon this tenure, upon faith and trust in God, we 
should fear to displease him. 

2. And there will be likewise an use of all means to serve God's jn-ovi- 
dence and care of us, if we trust in him ; or else it is a tempting and not a 

THE POOE man's RICHES. 255 

trusting. There are no men more careful of the use of means than those 
that are surest of a good issue and conclusion ; for the one stirs up dili- 
gence in the other. Assurance of the end stirs up diligence in the means. 
For the soul of a believing Christian knows that God hath decreed both ; 
both fall under the same decree : when God purposed to do such a thing, 
he purposed to do it by such and such means. Ti'ust, therefore, is with 
diligence in the use of all means that God hath ordained. He that trusts 
a physician's skill, will be very careful to observe what was prescribed, and 
will omit nothing. It is but presumption ; it is not trust where there is 
not a care in the use of means, as we see many pretend to trust in God 
and sever the means from the end ; they are regardless of the means of 

3. Again, Those that trust in God, they are quiet irheii they have used the 
means. Faith hath a quieting power. It hath a power to still the soul 
and to take up the quarrels, and murmuring, and grudgings that are there, 
and to set the soul down quiet ; because it proposeth to the soul greater 
grounds of comfort, than the soul can see any cause of discomfort. The 
SQul being reasonable, yields to the strength of the reason. Now, when 
faith propounds grand comforts against all discouragements whatsoever, 
that overcomes them, that is greater in the way of comfort than other things 
in the way of discouragement, the soul is quiet. It hopes comfort will be 
had. The soul is silent and at rest. We see in Ps. xlii. 11, when there 
was a mutiny in David's soul, by reason of the perplexed state he was in, 
he falls a- chiding downright with his soul, * Why art thou disquieted, 
my soul ! and why art thou troubled ?' v. 11. But how doth he take up 
the contention ? * Trust in God, he is thy God.' So that wheresoever 
there is faith, there is a quiet soul first or last. There will be stirring at 
the first ; the waters of the soul will not be quiet presently. As in a pair 
of balances there will be a little stirring when the^weight is put in till there 
will be poise ; so in the soul there will be some stirring and moving ; it 
comes not to a quiet consistence till there be some victory of faith with 
some conflict, till at length it rest and stay the soul. For this power faith 
has to quiet the soul, because it bottoms the soul so strongly. There is 
reason for it ; it sets the soul upon God, and upon his promises. * There- 
fore he that trusts in God is as mount Sion,' Ps. cxxv. 1. You may stir 
him sometime and move him, but you cannot remove him. The soul is 
quiet, because it is pitched upon a quiet object. 

Therefore, where there is cherishing of disturbance in the soul, and 
cherishing of doubts, there is no faith, or very little faith ; because it is the 
property of faith to silence the soul and to make quiet where it comes. 
This is one evidence and sign of true faith. And this is discerned especially 
in times of great trouble ; for then the soul of the righteous is not dis- 
quieted, as you have it in Ps. cxii. 7, 8, ' His heart is fixed, therefore he is 
not afraid of ill tidings.' 

4. And therefore this evidence to the rest, that faith as it hath a quieting 
power, so it hath a power to free the soul from all base fears, from the tyranny 
of base fear. There will some fear arise. We carry flesh about us, and 
flesh will alway be full of objections and trouble our peace ; but, notwith- 
standing, it will free the soul — this trusting in God — from the tyranny and 
dominion of base fears. If any news or tidings be of any great hard matter, 
I beseech you, who hath his soul best composed at that time ? A sound 
Christian, that hath made his peace with God, that hath his trust in God, 
that knows what it is to make use of God, to repair to him. But for 


another man, in tlie time of extremity and trouble, lie runs hither and 
thither, he hath not a tower to go unto, he hath no ^^lace of refuge to repair 
to. Therefore he is worse than the poor silly creatures. There is not a 
creature but hath a retiring place. The poor conies have the rocks to go 
unto, and the birds have their nests, and every creature, when night or 
danger approacheth, they have their hiding places. Only a wicked, careless 
man that hath not acquainted himself with God, when troubles come, he 
hath no hiding, nor no abiding place, but lies open to the storm of God's 
displeasure. Therefore he is surprised with fears and cares, and pulled in 
pieces with distractions. He is as a meteor that hangs in the clouds ; he 
cannot tell which way to fall. But a Christian is not such a meteor, he 
falls square which way soever he falls, cast him which way you will. For 
his soul is fixed, he hath laid his soul upon his God. We see the difier- 
ence in this between Saul and David. When David was in trouble, ' he 
trusted in the Lord his God,' when he was ready to be stoned. What doth 
Saul when he was in trouble ? He goes to the witch ; and from thence to 
the sword's point.* 

5. Again, Where there is this excellent grace of trusting in God, and the 
soul is calmed by the Spirit of God, to rely upon God in covenant as a 
Father in Christ, it will rely upon God ivithout means and when all thimfs 
seem contrary. So the Spirit of God will diflference a Christian from a 
natural man, that will go so far as his brain can reach. If he can see how 
things can be compassed, he will trust God, as if God had not a larger com- 
prehension than he. Where he sees no way or means to contrive a deli- 
verance, nor no means to satisfy his desire, there the soul of a natural man 
sinks and falls down : a politician will go as far as reason can carry him. 
But a Christian, when he sees no means, he knows God can make means. 
Now, when all things are opposite, if he hath a word of God, he will trust 
God, even against the present state and face of things, as Job saith, ' Though 
he kill me, yet will I trust in him,' Job xiii. 15. Therefore in the sense of 
sin, because there is a promise to sinners that, if they confess their sins, 
God will pardon them ; he will believe the forgiveness of sins, though he 
feel the guilt of sin. And in misery he will believe an evasion, f and escape, 
and that God will support him in it, because God hath so promised. And 
in * darkness, when he sees no light,' as it is Isa. 1. 10 ; in such a state 
' he will trust in God.' As a child in the dark clasps about his father, so 
a child of God in darkness when he sees no hght, he will clasp about his 
God, and break thorough the clouds that are between God and his soul ; 
as indeed faith hath a piercing eye. It pulls off the vizor of God's face. 
Though he seem angiy, yet he will believe he is in covenant and he is a 
Father. Therefore though God shew himself in his dealing as offended, 
yet ho argues God may be offended with me, but he cannot hate me ; there 
is hope. Faith, where it is in any strength, it will believe in contraries. 
In death, when a man is turned to rottenness and dust, faith apprehends 
life and resurrection, and glory to come. It will trust in God's means, or 
no means, if it hath a promise. 

6. Again, He that trusts in God iruly ivill trust him for all thinys, and at 
all times. For all things ; for faith never chooseth and singleth out its 
object, to believe this and not that, for all comes from the same God. 
Therefore he that trusts God for one thing, will trust him for all things. 
If I will trust a man for many pounds, surely I will trust him for a shilling. 

* Cf. Ps. xiii. 15, xxvi. 1, with 1 Sam. xxviii. 9, seq., andxxxi. 4. — G. 
t That is, = ' a way out.' Cf. 1 Cor. x. 13.— G, 

THE POOR man's RICHES. 257 

He that pretends he will trast God — God will save me, God is merciful — 
and yet notwithstanding will not trust him for common things, it is an 
abusive delusion and flattering of his own soul in vain. There is no such 
trust in him, because he that trusts God for the main will trust him for 
the less. Therefore true trust is for all things. He that trusts God for 
forgiveness of sins, which is the main, and hath wrestled with God for the 
forgiveness of sins, and found peace with God there, he will easily wrestle 
in other baser and less temptations. As God saith to Jacob, * Thou 
art Israel, thou hast prevailed with God, and shalt prevail over men,' Gen. 
xxxii. 28, so a true Christian, that in the grand point of forgiveness of 
sins, when his conscience is surprised with the fear of God's wrath, hath 
gotten assurance of the pardon of his sins, when he is to set upon other 
lesser temptations, he overcomes them easily. 

1. Therefore a Christian will trust God, as for forgiveness of sins and Hfe 
everlasting, so ivith his good name. Oh, will some say, you will be reported 
of thus and thus. He cares not. He knows the cause is just. He will 
trust his good name with God, ' who will bring a man's righteousness forth 
clear as the noonday,' as David speaks, Ps. xxxvii. 6. He that will not 
trust God with his good name is of a base spirit, and fear of disgrace keeps 
many men from many just actions. 

2. He that truly trusts God, will trust him with the righting of his cause. 
He will not pull God's office out of his hands. He will not revenge him- 
self, but he will trust God. God certainly will right me first or last._ He 
will only use the legal means, and that quietly. But a man that is not 
acquainted with the Spirit of God is presently moved with revenge,!and hath 
not learned to overcome himself in this conflict. A man hath gone indeed 
very far in religion, that can conquer himself in this conflict, that can trust 
his cause with God when he is wronged and overcome by might, &c.^ So 
our Saviour Christ committed his cause to him ' that was able to judge 
righteously,' 1 Peter ii. 23. Every true Christian hath the spirit of Christ. 
He, ' when he was reviled, retorted not again, but committed the cause to 
him that was able to judge righteously.' Shall I be able to commit my soul 
to God in the hour of death ? and shall I not, in case of revenge, be able to 
commit my case to God, when I have done that that peaceably I naay do ? 
I may suspect that I am but yet an hypocrite ; I have not true trust in God, 

3. Again, He that hath learned truly to trust God for the grand mam 
matters, he will trust him likewise with his posterity, with his children, with- 
out using indirect means to make them rich, as if they could not be blessed 
unless they have such a portion put into their hand when we die ; as if God 
had not stock enough for them, ' for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness 
thereof,' Ps. xxiv. 1. And he is the ' God of the faithful, and of their seed,' 
Gen. xvii. 19. Is he so ? Then let us labour to leave our children in 
covenant, leave them in a gracious frame and state of soul, that they may 
be God's children ; and then we leave them rich, for we leave them ' God 
all-sufficient ' to be their portion. Therefore those that pretend, I do this but 
for my posterity and children, when they are unjust and unconscionable* 
in their getting, they make this defence for their unbelief. If they had true 
faith, as they trust God with their souls, as they pretend at least, so they 
would with their children and posterity. 

4. Again, He that trusts God truly, will trust God with his gifts, with the 
distribution of his alms, with parting with that he hath for the present, when 
he sees it like seed cast upon the water. When seed is cast upon the 

* That is, ' unconacientious.' — G. 


water, we are likely never to see it again. Oh, but saith the wise man, 
* cast thy bread upon the water, and thou shall see it after a certain time.' 
He that hath learned to trust God will believe this. Though he cast away 
his bounty, yet he hath cast it upon God and Christ, that will return it 
again ; he knows he doth but lend to the Lord. Therefore those that think 
their bounty and alms and good deeds to be lost, because they see not a 
present return, a present crop of that seed, they have not a spirit of trust 
in God ; for he that hath will endeavour to be ' rich in good works ; ' nay, 
he will account it a special favour, a greater favour, to have a heart to do 
good, than to have means. A reprobate may have means, abundance to do 
good ; but only a child of God hath a heart to do good, and when he hath 
gotten a large and gracious heart to do good, it pleaseth him. Then he sees 
he hath an evidence that he is the child of God. He knows he shall not 
lose a cup of cold water, not the least thing that he doth in the name of 
Christ. The apprehension of this should make us more fruitful, and 
' abound in the work of the Lord,' 1 Cor. xv. 58. It is for want of trust 
and faith that we are so barren as we are in good works. 

5. Again, He that will trust God with the greatest matters, will trust 
God witk his ivays for direction. He will not trust his ov/n wit and wisdom, 
but God. God shall be wise for him. He will follow God's directions, and 
whatsoever is contrary to God's direction he will not do. He will acknow- 
ledge God in all his ways. Prov. iii. 5, ' Acknowledge God in all thy ways,' 
acknowledge him to be thy guide, thy defender, thy light, to direct thee ; 
acknowledge him to be able and willing to give thee success ; acknowledge 
God in all thy ways and consultations ; and when we have especially any 
great matters in hand, oh, I beseech you, let us learn to acknowledge God. 
What is it to acknowledge him ? To go to him for direction and protection 
in doing our duty, that we seek to him for strength and for success ; this is 
to acknowledge God in our ways. What makes men so unfortunate and 
successless in their consultations ? Because they are so faithless ; they do 
not acknowledge God in their ways, but trust too much to seeming things 
and appearance of things ; they are carried too much with that. Though 
things seem to go never so well, yet let nothing make us give over to 
acknowledge God ; nay, when things are never so ill, let us acknowledge 
God, for God can set all straight and at rights again. Alas ! what a small 
matter is it for him that rules heaven and earth, and turns this great wheel 
of all things, to turn the lesser wheels to order lesser businesses, and bring 
them to a happy issue and conclusion ! It is but a little matter with his 
command, seeing he rules all things. It is but trusting in him and praying 
to him, and then using the means with dependence upon him. Let us 
therefore acknowledge God this way, by committing our ways and affairs to 
him. We need knowledge and strength, and a comfortable issue for all that 
is necessary in our affairs ; let us acknowledge God, and fetch all these from 

6. Well, the last thing that we have any use of trusting God withal is, 
uhen we are dying, to trust our souls, to commit them to God, and yield them 
up to him, our depositum, to lay it with him. He that hath inured himself 
to trust God all his life, and to live by faith, he will be able at length with 
some comfort to die by faith. He that hath trusted God all his life with 
all things that God hath trusted him, he can easily trust God with his soul ; 
and he that hath not inured himself to trust God in this life, undoubtedly he 
will never trust God with his soul when he dies. It is but a forced trust. 

Thus you see ia all the passages of our lives we must learn to trust God, 

THE POOR man's RICHES. 259 

and to make use of Grod, for God is so abundant that he is never drawn 
dry. He joys when he is made use of. It is an honour to him. Let us 
try ourselves by that I have said, whether we truly trust God or no. Let 
us not deceive our own souls, but labour to trust God for all things. Let 
it be our daily practice in the use of means. Look to the course that he 
prescribes us, and then look up to him for strength and blessing and success. 
This ought to be the life of a Christian, Oculus ad cceliim, as they say of 
the governor of a ship. He hath his hand to the stern, and his eye to the 
pole-star, to be directed by that. So the life of a Christian. He must 
have his hand to the stern, he must be doing that that God prescribes him, 
and he must have his eye to the star, to be guided in his course by God's 
direction. He that hath not this knows not what it is to trust in God. 

How shall we bring our souls to this so necessary a duty ? Indeed, it is 
a very hard matter. We know what it is to live by our wits, by our wealth, 
by our lands ; but what it is to live by faith in depending upon God, few 
souls are acquainted with that. 

Therefore, in the first place, learn to know God. You see here, we must 
trust in his name. We know men by their names. God and his name 
are all one. His name is himself, and himself is his name. Therefore, 
let us learn to know God as he hath discovered himself : know him in his 
works, but especially in his ivord ; know him by that work, as he hath dis- 
covered himself in his word. Let us know his promises, and have them 
in store for all assays * whatsoever ; promises for grace and for direction 
in this world. God will not ' fail us, nor forsake us,' John xiv. 18. He 
will be in all extremities with us, ' in the fire and in the water,' Isa. xliii. 2 ; 
and the promises of issue, 'All things shall work for good to them that love 
God,' Rom. viii. 28 ; and the promise of his Spirit, ' He will give his Holy 
Spirit to them that ask him,' Luke xi. 13. Besides particular promises, a 
world of them in Scripture, let us know God in these promises ; they are 
our inheritance, our portion. And if we should go to God, and not be 
acquainted with these, he will ask us upon what ground ? How shall we 
be able to go to God ? But when we have his promise, we may say boldly 
with the psalmist, ' Lord, remember thy promise, wherein thou hast caused 
thy servant to trust.' We may put God in remembrance : not that he 
forgets, but he will have us mindful of what he promiseth, and put him in 
mind. And it is an evidence to our souls that he will grant any thing, 
when we have faith to put him in mind of his promise : ' Lord, remember 
thy promise, wherein thou hast caused thy servant to trust.' Lord, thou 
canst not deny thy word, and thy truth, and thyself, and thy promise, and 
thy name by which thou hast made thyself known. Thus we should know 
God in his word ; as it is Ps. ix. 10, ' They that know thy name will trust 
in thee, Lord.' We never trust a man till we know him ; and those that 
are not good, we say they are better laaown than trusted ; but the more we 
know God, the more we shall trust him. 

And know him in his special attributes that the tvord sets him out in, besides 
the promises, that we may know that he is able to make good all these 
promises ; and then we shall trust him. What are those attributes ? He 
hath made himself known to be all-sufficient. What a world of comfort is 
in that. He saith to Abraham, * I am God all-sufficient : walk before me, 
and be perfect,' Gen. xvii. 1. Take thou no thought for any other thing : 
* I am God all-sufficient.' There is in him whatsoever may be for an object 
of trust. He is all-sufficient. He hath power. * Our trust is in the name 
* That is, ' essays,' endeavours, == undertakings.' — G. 


of the Lord, that made heaven and earth,' Ps. cxv. 15. There is a con- 
sideration to strengthen faith : there is power enough. We beheve in a 
God that made heaven and earth ; and there is will to help us, he is our 
God ; and there is skill to help us : as St Peter saith, * He knows how to 
deliver,' 2 Pet. ii. 9. It is his practice. He hath used it from the begin- 
ning of the church, and will to the end. He knows how to deliver them, 
to protect and stand by them ; he hath power, and will, and skill to do it. 
And then again, he is everywhere. He is such a castle, and tower, and 
defence. We have him near us in all times : he is * a present help in 
trouble,' as it is Ps. xlvi. 1. What an object of trust is here, if we had 
but faith to make use of it. Let us therefore know God in his word, in 
his attributes, and this will be a means to strengthen trust ; as it is Ps. 
xxxvi. 7, * How sweet is thy goodness ; therefore shall the sons of men 
trust under the shadow of thy wings.' Why come we under the shadow of 
God's wing ? Because his goodness is sweet : he is a fit object for trust. 
The things of this world, the more we know them, the less we trust them, 
for they are but vain. But there is such infiniteness in God, that the more 
we know him, the more we shall trust him. Therefore, let us grow in the 
knowledge of God's word and truth. 

And add experimental knowledge. It helps trust marvellously : the 
experience of others, and our own experience. When we see God hath 
helped his church in all times, especially when they have sought him by 
fasting and prayer : ' Our fathers trusted in thee, and were not confounded,' 
Ps. xxii. 4, 5. Therefore, if we trust in thee, we shall not be confounded. 
So for our own experience : ' Thou hast been my God from my mother's 
womb ; I have depended upon thee from my mother's breast : forsake me 
not in mine old years, in my grey hairs, when my strength faileth me,' 
Ps. Ixxi. 18. Thus we may gather upon God from former experience, that 
God will not now forsake us, because we have had experience of his kind- 
ness in former times. He hath been my God from my childhood ; there- 
fore he will be now. This is a good argument^ because God is as he was ; 
he is the same, he is never drawn dry : ' Where he loves, he loves to the 
end,' John xiii. 1. Where he begins, he will end. Therefore, this should 
strengthen our faith, to gather experience from former things. Thus David 
allegeth the lion and the bear ; and so St Paul, * He hath delivered me, 
therefore he will deliver me,' 2 Tim. iii. 11. It is ordinary with the saints 
of God. 

Again, If we would trust in God, labour every day to be acquainted with 
God in daihj prayer, in hearing, and reading, and meditation. We trust 
friends with whom we are much acquainted ; and those that are not 
acquainted with God, in that communion which belongs to Christians, that 
do not often talk with God by prayer and meditation, when they go to God 
in extremity, what will God say to them ? Upon what acquaintance ? You 
are strangers to me, and I will be a stranger to you ; and ' Wisdom itself 
will laugh at their destruction,' Prov. i. 26, when they will force acquaint- 
ance upon God when they have use of him, and never care for him in the 
time of peace. Therefore, if we would trust God, and go to God boldly, as 
who is there here now that will not have need of him ? We have need of 
him continually, but sometimes more than others. Therefore, I say, let us 
be acquainted with him, that we may after trust him. Those that have not 
the care to be acquainted with God, either they have not the heart to go 
to God, or if they have, they have but a cold answer. But indeed, for the 
most part, they have no heart to go to God, for their hearts misgive them. 

THE POOB man's RICHES. 261 

and tell them they have been careless of God, they have neglected God. 
Therefore, God will not regard them : * Go to the gods ye have trusted,' as 
it is Judges x. 14. Answerable to our care, beloved, in the time of peace, 
will our comfort be when we are in trouble. Therefore I beseech you, let 
us remember this, as one means to strengthen our trust, our daily acquaint- 
ance with God ; and acquaint ourselves so with him, as to keep him our 
friend, not to oifend him, for if we offend him, we shall not trust him. A 
galled conscience is afraid of God, as a sore eye is of light. A comfortable 
conscience* is from a conscience to please God. ' This is our boldness and 
confidence,' saith Paul, that we have laboured to * keep a good conscience,' 
that we may have him our friend, 2 Cor. i. 15, Heb. xiii. 18. 

Again, Let us labour to exercise our trust upon all occasions ; for things 
that are exercised are the brighter and the stronger. Let us inure our- 
selves to trust in God for all things, and to trust him with all things ; 
with our bodies, with our souls, with our estates, with our children, with 
our ways, with our good name, with our credit and reputation, with all ; 
as I said before in the signs of trust. Faith it grows in the exercise, as 
we see Ps. Ixii., a psalm expressing David's trust in God, and the conflict 
with his soul in trusting. He begins, ' Yet my soul waits upon the Lord,' 
&c. ; and in verse 2d, ' I shall not be greatly moved,' saith he ; but when 
he had gone on, and exercised his faith still, then he saith in verse 6th, 
' He is my rock, and my Saviour, and defence ; I shall not be moved.' 
He that at the beginning saith, ' I shall not greatly be moved,' afterward, 
working upon his heart and soul, and exercising his faith, saith, ' I shall 
not be moved ; he is my rock, my Saviour and defence.' Faith it is the 
engine by which we do all, by which we pi'evail with God and overcome 
the world, and all the snares on the right hand and on the left ; it is that 
whereby we do all. Therefore we had need to keep it in exercise, and 
inure it, that we may have it to manage and use upon all occasions. It is 
not enough to have faith in us, but we must live by it. It must not only 
live in us, but we must live by it. This ^is another way to strengthen this 
faith, and assurance, and trusting in God. 

The next is to practise that I spake of in the forenoon, to grow * poor in 
spirit,' ' for they shall trust in the name of the Lord.' Let us labour more 
and more to see our own wants. A Christian should have a double eye : 
one to look to himself and to his own wants, to be abased ; another eye to 
God's promise, to God's nature, to trust in God ; and thus we should pass 
our days. The more we can empty ourselves, the more we shall be filled 
with God. We see here in the text the way to trust in God, to be ' poor 
in spirit.' The reason is in nature. Whosoever is not poor in himself, 
and sees a necessity, he will never go out of himself, for he hath some 
other supply. Therefore, if we would learn to trust in God, we must learn 
to empty ourselves of all self-confidence, by observing our weakness and 
wants ; by taking notice, not so much of our graces, as of our wants. 
When Moses came from the mount, his face shone ; he knew not of it. 
All the world about him knew it besides himself, but he observed it not, 
saith the Scripture, Exod. xxxiv. 29. So when a Christian considers not, 
especially in temptations to pride, what he hath, but what he wants — how 
little good he hath done, how many evil thoughts and actions have passed 
from him, how short he is in fruitfulness and thankfulness to God — this is 
the way to trust in God, for then we will keep close to God when we do see 
our own weakness. 

* Qu. ' confidence ' '? — Ed. 


And let us labour to have a spirit of sanctification, to have our souls more 
and more renewed to trust in God, or else all other courses are nothing ; 
for when it comes to particulars, if the soul be not sanctified there is no 
correspondency and harmony betv/een it and God. How can an unsancti- 
fied soul close with a holy God ? Therefore we must labour to be good 
and to do good ; as the apostle Peter saith, ' to commit our souls to God 
in doing good,' 1 Pet. iv. 19. Let us labour to be good, to get grace, and 
then there will be a harmony, a connaturalness between a holy God and a 
holy soul ; and then we shall trust and rely upon him easily. Where there 
is not grace in the heart subduing corruptions, when it comes to particulars, 
whether to trust in God or man, then the soul will rebel, and scorn as it 
were trusting in God. It will go to wits, to friends, to favours, and other 

Let a man be never such a scholar, of never so great parts, when he 
comes to any shift, if he have not grace in him, he will disdain out of 
pride of spirit, as every man naturally is deeply proud, to rely upon con- 
science, and upon the truth and promises of the word, and upon such 
terms. These be weak things. No ; he will stir hell rather, and earth, 
and all means. He accounts it greatness that he can do so. It is only 
the holy man that will cleave fast to God, and to his truth and word, for 
he relisheth it. The Spirit that penned the Scriptures and the promises, 
it rules in his heart, and therefore he relisheth them. Oh these promises 
are sweet ! And as he can trust the promises, so he can trust God ; be- 
cause, as I said before, he is acquainted with them. Where there is not a 
gracious heart, there will never be a believing, trusting heart. 

There is in God infiniteness of ways of supply, let us labour therefore 
for a inudent heart, to learn the skill of fetching out of God for all neces- 
sities. As our want is, so let us fetch supply from some attribute of God, 
and some promise answerable. This is the wisdom of the saints of God. 
Are we in extremity ? Then with Jehoshaphat say, * We know not. Lord, 
what to do : but our eye,s are toward thee,' 2 Chron. xx. 12. Are we per- 
plexed that we want wisdom ? Then go to God, who is infinitely wise. 
Consider him so, for he is fit for the soul ; nay, he exceeds all the maladies 
and wants of the soul. There is not only abundance in God, but redun- 
dance and overflowing abundance. Therefore there wants but skill to 
make use of what is in him for our turn. Are we wronged ? Go to God, 
that ' judgeth righteously,' Jer, xi. 20 ; consider him in that relation, as a 
God 'to whom vengeance belongeth,' Ps. xciv. 1. Are we overpowered? 
Go to God, * that made heaven and earth,' to the Almighty God, Ps. 
cxv. 15. Are we troubled with the sense of sin? Go to God, that is 
* the Father of all mercy, and God of all comfort,' Rom. xv. 5. Are we 
cast down, and no man regards us ? Go to God, that styles himself ' the 
comforter of the abject,' 2 Cor. vii. 6. This is the skill that faith learns, 
not only in gross to think of God, but to think of God answerable to all 
occasions ; as indeed there is somewhat in God to satisfy the soul in all 
extremities whatsoever. I beseech you, let us learn to do this. What a 
happy condition is he in that hath learned to inure his soul to trust in God 
for the removal of all ill, and for the obtaining of all good ! He is sure of 
all. * For God is a sun and a shield ;' a sun for all that is good, and a 
shield to defend us from all ill. He is so to all that trust in him. He is 
a * buckler, and an exceeding great reward,' Ps. xviii. 30. He is a buckler 
to award* and shield ill from us, and an exceeding great reward for all 
* That is, == ' ward off.'— G. 

TBE POOR man's riches. 263 

that is good. Therefore in how happy a condition is the soul that is 
acquainted with this blessed exercise of trusting and believing in God ! It 
is a state wherein we shall be kept from all ill — I mean from the ill of ills : 
not from the ill of sense, but from the ill of ills, and from the poison of all 
ill. Whatsoever ill we endure, there shall be comfort mixed with it ; and 
it is better to have it than the comfort. What a comfort is this ! ' They 
that trust in the Lord shall want nothing that is good. He that trusts in 
the Lord is as a tree planted by the river side,' Jer. xvii. 7, 8. He shall 
alway have his leaf flourishing and bear fruit, because he is at the well- 
head. He that hath the spring can never want water, and he that is in the 
sun can never want light. He that is at the great feast can never want pro- 
vision. He that hath learned to trust in God, and can improve what is in 
him, what can he want ? Oh it is the scarceness of our faith that we want 
comfort ! As our faith 'is, so is our comfort ; and if we could bring a thou- 
sand times larger faith to grasp the promises, we should carry away larger 
comfort and strength. 


(a) P. 241. — ' In the original it is poor, and mild, and gentle.' Cf. Dr Henderson 
in loc. 

(b) P. 246.— 'As St Augustine .... saitli, "We should boast and glory of no- 
thing, because nothing is ours." ' A frequent acknowledgment in the ' Confessions,' 
with varying phraseology. G. 




' Spiritual mourning' forms Nos. 14 and 15 of the Saint's Cordials in first edition, 
1629. It was withdrawn from the after-editions along with others, to give room for 
another series which had been published in the intervals. The title-page will be 
found below.* Cf. notes Vol. IV. page 76, and V. page 176. G. 



In Two Sekmons. 

Wherein is laid open, 

f Who are spirituall mourners, and what it is to mourne 
Thai all godly mourning is attended with comfort. 
- How spirituall mouriiing is known and discerned from 
other mournings. 
Together with the meanes to attains it, and the tryall 
thereof, in sundry instances, <f"c. 

[Wood-cut here, as described in Vol. IV. p. 60.] 

Vprightnes Hath Boldnes. 


Printed in the yeare 1623. 



Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. — Mat. V. 4. 

We have spoken of spiritual poverty the last day, when we shewed yon 
that it is a grace especially in the understanding.* We must now come 
to the affections. And first, our Saviour hegins with mourning, which fol- 
lows immediately from poverty of spirit. Mourning is a wringing or 
pinching of the soul upon the apprehension of some evil present, whether 
it be privative or positive, as we speak ; that is, when a man finds that 
absent that he desires, and that present which he abhors, then the soul 
shrinks and contracts itself, and is pinched and wringed ; and this is that 
we call mourning. Now this always comes to pass in poverty. Such as 
the poverty is, such is the mourning ; and therefore our blessed Saviour's 
order is very good in joining mourning to that poverty of which we have 
spoken. Thus much for the order. 

Now for the words. There are, you see, two things in this verse. 

1. A point. 2. A' proof. 

Our Saviour's point shall be our point of doctrine at this time, because 
we would not speak one thing twice. Therefore we will lay down the point 
in our Saviour's own words, and that is this, that spiritual mourners are 
blessed men. He is an happy man that is a good mourner. He that can 
mourn for his sins, he is in an happy case. That is the point. 

Now in the prosecution of this, we must fii-st expound it ; secondly, prove 
it ; and then apply it to you, as our Saviour doth to his hearers, Luke vi. 21, 
' Blessed are ye that mourn.' 

1. For the first, I may expound the point and the text both under one. 
You see the proposition what it is, every good mourner is in an happy con- 
dition. Here let us consider a little the terms to exphcate them. Who is 
the party in speech ? ' Blessed is the mourner,' saith Christ in Matthew ; 
' Blessed,' saith he in Luke vi. 21, ' are the weepers.' Both these, mourn- 
ing and weeping, they are fruits of the same tree and root. The root is 
sorrow and sadness, opposite to joy ; the bud mourning, opposite to mirth ; 

* The reference is probably to 'Eicb Poverty,' from Zephaniab iii. 12, in the 
present volume. — G. 


the blossoms weeping, opposite to laughter. The matter then is this, that 
they that are spiritual mourners are happy men ; that is, those men that 
have not only cause and matter of sorrow and mourning, for so all have, 
but have also a heart to mourn. There is in them a disposition of mourn- 
ing, they can do it, they will do it occasionally, they do perform it inwardly, 
they bleed, which is termed mourning outwardly, they demonstrate it, as 
our Saviour instanceth in weeping. These be the parties here spoken of 
that are mourners. Now what is the thing that is affirmed of them ? that 
is, blessedness and happiness ; the mourners are blessed and happy. As 
mourning is in [it]self, it is not simply good, but because it makes way for 
happiness. To call mourning happiness simply, were to speak a contra- 
diction, to term misery felicity, and to make felicity misery. But he that 
mourns aright, is happy in a sense, he is in a happy estate and condition. 
A mournful state is a happy estate ; happy, because this mourning is an 
argument of some happiness and goodness for the present, and a pledge of 
more for the future. It makes way for comfort and future happiness, and 
therefore he is happy. 

Obj. You see the proposition now, how it is mournful men are happy 
men. But now for the quantity and extent of this proposition. Is this, 
will some men say, universally true ? Are all men that mourn blessed 

Am. Nothing less. There is a carnal mourning, when a man mourns 
for the presence of goodness, and for the absence of sin, because he is 
restrained and cannot be so bad as he would be. There is a natural 
mourning, when a man mourns upon natural motives, when natural losses 
and crosses are upon him. There is a spiritual mourning, when a man 
mourns in a spiritual manner, for spiritual things, upon spiritual motives, 
as afterwards we shall shew ; when he mourns, because good things that 
are spiritually good are so far from him, and spiritual ills are so near to 
him. This is the mourner that Christ here speaks of, and this is the 
mourning that hath the blessing. Other mourning may occasion this 
through God's blessing, and may give some overture to this mourning, but 
the blessing belongs to the spiritual mourner and the spiritual mourning. 
Mourning must be expounded as poverty. Every poor man is not a blessed 
man, except his outward poverty bring him to spiritual poverty. So every 
mourner and every weeper is not therein blessed, except his outward losses, 
and crosses, and occasions, be an occasion through God's blessing and a 
means to bring him to spiritual sorrow and mourning. Thus now you see 
then the meaning of the proposition ; it is thus much, that he that mourns 
spiritually and hoHly, why he is in an happy estate and condition. This 
is the meaning of the point. 

2. Now let us proceed to the second thing, the proving of it. For proof 
we need go no further than our Saviour's own testimony ; yet we have 
besides his testimony some proofs and some reasons to give. For his 
testimony : ' Blessed,' saith our Saviour's own mouth, ' are they that 
mourn ;' and Luke vi. 21, ' Blessed are they that weep.' This weeping 
and this mourning must be understood of spiritual weeping and spiritual 
mourning, as we told you, and then the testimony is very clear, every man 
that so mourns is an happy man. Our Saviour doth not only speak this, 
but prove it, 1. By an argument drawn from the contrary: Luke vi. 25, 
* Woe be to you that laugh now.' These carnal mirth-mongers are in a 
miserable estate, and therefore spiritual mourners are in an happy estate. 
2. He confirms and backs this by a reason here in the text : ' Blessed are 




the mourners, for they shall be comforted.' This reason will not hold in 
all kind of mourning and all kind of comfort. It is no good argument to 
say, Blessed is the man that is in pain, for he shall be refreshed and relieved ; 
blessed is the man that is hungry, for he shall be fed and have his wants 
supplied. But yet this argument holds good, ' Blessed are they that mourn, 
for they shall be comforted ;' namely, with God's comforts, with the comforts 
of the Spirit, with the comforts of the word, the comforts of heaven. The 
comforts of God are beyond all the miseries and sorrows that a man can 
endui'e in this life ; and though he do mourn and weep for them, yet not- 
withstanding, the comforts, the wages, will so far exceed all his sorrows 
that he is happy in this. He cannot buy spiritual comforts too dear, he 
cannot have them upon hard terms possibly. Though they cost him never 
so many tears, never so much grief, and sorrow, and heart-breaking, yet if 
he have them, he is happy in having them upon what rate soever. 

Yea, further, spiritual mourning carries comfort with it, besides the 
harvest of comfort that abides the mourner afterwards. There are first- 
fruits of comfort here to be reaped, so it is that the more a man mourns 
spiritually, the more he rejoiceth ; the more his sorrow is, the more his 
comfort is. His heart is never so hght, so cheerful, and so comfortable, 
as when he can pour forth himself with some sighs, groans, and tears, 
before God. So that then our Saviour clears the point, that they are 
happy men that mourn in an holy manner. Howsoever mourning be not 
comfort, and misery be not happiness, yet notwithstanding, affliction and 
mourning may argue an happy estate and blessed condition, and that in 
these respects following, which we shall name to you, which shall serve for 
reasons of the point. 

1. First, He that mourns spiritually /mf/i a good judgment, and therefore 
is happy. Spiritual afibction it argues a spiritual judgment and under- 
standing. For the affections they work according as they receive informa- 
tion. A creature that is led by fancy, hath brutish affections ; a man that 
is guided with matter of reason hath rational affections, as we term them ; 
but a man that hath his mind enlightened and sanctified hath holy afiec- 
tions. So that holy mouming and holy affections argues a sound mind, a 
holy, settled, and spiritual judgment, and that is an happiness. 

2. Secondly, It argues a good heart too. 

(1.) First, A tender and soft heart. For a stone cannot mourn, only the 
fleshy heart it is that can bleed. He that then can mourn spiritually, he 
hath an evidence to his heart, that his heart is soft, that he hath a tender 
heart, and that is a blessing, and makes a man a blessed man. 

(2.) As his heart is tender, so also it is sound. It is a healthful soul 
and an healthful temper, as I may speak, that he hath. For mourning 
proceeds out of love and hatred ; out of agreement, if it be a spiritual 
mourning, with that which is good, and out of a contrariety and opposition 
between us and that which is bad. So that he that can mourn after good- 
ness, and mourn for sin and badness, if it be spiritual mourning, this man 
shews he hath a good heart, his heart agrees with that which is good, his 
heart disagrees, and stands in opposition, and hath an antipathy to that 
which is bad. And this is a right constitution and temper of soul, that 
makes a man happy. There is one reason then why he that mourns 
spiritually may well be deemed an happy man, because he hath a sound 
judgment, and because he hath a sound and a soft heart too. 

2. Secondly, As he is happy in the cause, so he will be happy in the 
effect too of his godly mourning. For godly sorrow and mourning brings 


forth blessed fruits and effects ; the apostle in 2 Cor. vii. 10, seq., delivers 
divers of them, as there you see. 

(1.) First, this is one thing in spiritual mourning ; it secures and excludes 
a man from carnal and hellish mourning ; yea, this orders him and saves 
him harmless from all other griefs. A gracious mourning, it moderates 
natural grief, and expels and drives out carnal and hellish grief and sorrow, 
like good physic, that heals and strengthens nature, and expels that poison 
that is hurtful to nature. The more a man can mourn for his sins, the 
less he will mourn for other matters ; the more heavy sin lies upon his 
soul, the more lightly he can bear other losses and crosses, whatsoever 
they be. So that this mourning prevents a great deal of unprofitable 
mourning. When a man bleeds unseasonably and unsatiably, the way to 
divert it is to open a vein and to let him blood elsewhere, and so you save 
the man. When a man pours forth himself unseasonably and unprofitably 
in needless tears, griefs, and cares, the only way is to turn his tears into a 
right channel, to make him mourn for that which is mournful, and to set 
him to weep for that which deserves tears. If he weep in an holy and 
spiritual manner, he shall be secured and preserved from poisonful and 
hurtful tears. 

(2.) Secondly, This is another happy effect of godly mourning, that 
spiritual and godly mourning alway doth a man good and never any hurt. 
Worldly sorrow, saith the apostle, causeth death. It hurts the soul, it 
hurts the life, it hurts the body of a man ; but spiritual sorrow, on the 
other side, causeth life. The more a man dies this way, the more he lives ; 
the more he weeps, the more he laughs ; and the more he can weep over 
Jesus Christ, the more lightsome and gladsome his heart is, and the more 
comfortably he spends his time. This brings him joy, this brings him 
peace, this brings him evidence of God's love, this brings assurance of 
pardon, and so this makes way for life, and doth a man no hurt at all. ' 

(3.) Thirdly, This spiritual and godly sorrow and mourning is a sorrow 
never to he repented of, as the apostle there implies. All other sorrow a 
man must unsorrow again. When a man hath wept and blubbered, and 
spent a great deal of time in passionate tears, in cursed tears, in fro ward 
tears, in revengeful stomachful tears, he must blot out these tears with new 
tears ; he must unweep this weeping, and undo his mourning because he 
hath thus mourned ; he hath reason to repent for his sorrow. But when 
a man sets himself apart to weep over Christ, and sees his sins for the 
dishonour that is offered to God's name, and that his mourning is holy and 
spiritual mourning, he shall never have cause to repent of this time that is 
so spent, although he have spent many days and hours in that action. 

(4.) Last of all, spiritual mourning works repentance, saith the apostle : 
that is to say, it works reformation and amendment ; it sets a man further 
from his sin, and brings him nearer to God, and nearer to goodness ; it 
works in himself partly, and in regard of others partly, those fruits that 
the apostle there mentions in the Corinthians. Saith he, what striving, 
what diligence and speed did you make, namely, to find out arid to censure 
the incestuous person ; and then this sorrow will make a man nimble to 
find out sin, to reform and redress abuses in himself, in his house, and his 
place in what he can. In the second place, it gives a man defence and 
apology to speak for himself, and to say, Though I live amongst a polluted 
people of uncircumcised hearts, yet I join not with them in their sins, I 
mourn for them, I censure them, I blame them, as the Corinthians did the 
incestuous person. And for himself, he is able to hold up his head with 


comfort, and to say, It is true I have corruptions, but here is my apology, 
I bewail them. It is true I have thus and thus sinned, but here is my 
defence, I am son-y. I found place for sin, I find place for sorrow also, I 
confess it, I bewail it, I repent of my sin. Thus he clears himself. 

(5.) Further, Spiritual sorrow, it icorks indignation against sin in himself 
and in others ; a zeal against all impediments in himself and in others, the 
desire to God's ministers and word ; that revenge that the apostle speaks 
of there, and that fear of hazarding one's self into the like occasions of sin 
for the time to come. In short, the fruits and eifects of godly sorrow are 
exceeding blessed, exceeding many, and thei-efore in this sense, in this 
respect, he that mourns spiritually is an happy man. 

3. Thirdly, He is happy in regard of the event and issue of his mourning, 
because all shall end icell tvith him, and all his tears shall one dag he xviped 
away, and jog and gladness shall come in j^lnce ; yea, he is happy in this, 
that spiritual mourning it is always accompanied with joy : that is an happy 
estate that tends to happiness. Things are termed from the term in their 
motion. That is an happy estate that is attended with comfort, that ends 
in comfort, and shall be swallowed up of it at the last. Now this is the 
state of the spiritual mourner ; while he doth moui'n he hath comfort, and 
comfort because he can mourn. This doth a Christian heai't more good 
than all the good of this world, when he can get himself apart and shed 
tears for his sins, and bewail the miseries and the sins of the time, and 
take to heart the dishonour of God's name. This, I say, doth more refresh 
and glad his soul than any outward comfort in the world. There is a 
laughter which Solomon speaks of, that makes a man sad, a carnal laughter ; 
the heart is sad whilst the face laughs. So I may say the contrary, as 
there is joined sadness in some laughter, so there is laughter in some sad- 
ness. Carnal laughter makes a man sad while he laughs ; but spiritual 
mourning, it makes a man merry when he mourns ; the more he mourns, 
the more merry he is. Again, as for the present his mourning is attended 
with comfort, so in the end it shall end in comfort. There is a sorrow 
that shall end in darkness, that wastes a man as fire and heat wastes a candle, 
and so goes out of itself and vanisheth into smoke, into nothing. There 
is a sorrow and grief that ends in a greater sorrow, and that empties itself 
into eternal misery, but this spiritual sorrow shall have an end. For there 
shall be an end of our sorrow. If it be holy sorrow, we shall not ever 
mourn, but the tears shall one day be wiped from all our eyes, it shall have 
an end, and an happy end too. For all our sorrow shall end in joy. For 
our garments of ashes we shall have garments of light and gladness, and 
* everlasting joy shall be upon our heads,' Isa. xxxv. 10. So then, whether 
we respect the cause of our mourning, or the fruits and effects of it, whether 
we respect the close and event of it, it is clear that every man that can 
mourn spiritually is in that respect in a very happy and blessed estate and 
condition. We have given you now the point. You hear what our Saviour 
speaks is but reason, though he seem to speak a paradox to flesh and 
blood when he saith, every spiritual mourner is an happy man. Now then, 
my brethren, let us apply the point a little. 

Use 1. If it be an happy man that mourns aright, we have reason, first, 
to bewail our unhapjnness ; unhappy time and unhappy men may we well 
say, touching ourselves, that vary so much from the mind and prescription 
of our blessed Saviour. 'Blessed,' saith our Saviour Christ, ' are they that 
mourn, for they shall be comforted.' * Woe to you,' saith he, ' that now 
laugh.' We, on the other side, say, Woe to them that here mourn ; happy 


are they that can here laugh and be merry. And as we vary in our judg- 
ment from our Saviour, so much more we vary in our practice from his 
direction and counsel. The Lord, when he gives direction that will bring 
joy and comfort, he bids us humble ourselves, cast down ourselves, afflict 
ourselves, &c., James iv. 10. God saith, 'Humble 3'ourselves that you 
may be exalted.' , We on the other side say, Exalt ourselves, and we shall 
not be humbled. God saith. Throw down yourselves ; we say. Secure our- 
selves. God saith. Afflict yourselves, and then you shall have comfort. 
The Lord saith, Let your laughter be turned into mourning, that so you 
may laugh. We on the other say, Let our mourning be turned into 
laughter, that so we may not mourn. And therefore when any grief, natu- 
ral or spiritual, begins to breed or to grow on us, presently we betake our- 
selves to company, to sports and exercises, that may drown the noise of 
conscience, that may put out of our minds motives to spiritual grief and 
sorrow, and that may provoke us to carnal, or at the best to natural mirth 
and rejoicing. Thus we vary from Christ's directions quite in our practice; 
nay more, vary further from the practice of the saints of God. We vary 
from the very time and season in which we live. For behold, it is a time 
of darkness and blackness ; it is the year of God's visitation, as the pro- 
phet speaks ; it is the time of Jacob's trouble, as Jeremiah speaks. For 
howsoever we have peace at home, the church hath war abroad ; howsoever 
we have health, yet the pestilence rageth abroad. Though we have plenty, 
there is poverty and misery abroad in the bowels of the church in other 
nations. Now then, when the time calls for mourning, and weeping, and 
lamentation, we vary quite, and are like to them in the prophecy of Isaiah. 
* In that day,' saith God, Isa. xxii. 12, seq., ' did I call for mourning and 
sackcloth : and behold here is slaying of oxen, and killing of sheep, and 
making merry, and provoking ourselves to all kind of jollity and security.' 
Further, we vary from the practice of God's children in like cases. They 
gave themselves to spiritual mourning upon due occasion. We read of 
Nehemiah, when he heard that the church was distressed and afflicted 
abroad, though he lived in credit, and in honour, and in safety him.self at 
the court, yet he betakes himself to God in private, and there he fasts, and 
prays, and mourns, and there he sues to the Lord to be merciful unto 
Jerusalem. We read of good honest Uriah, he refused to go to his house 
and to refresh himself with meat and drink, upon this reason, because the 
ark of God and the captain of the host lay in the field in tents. This was 
the affection and the mind of God's servants of old : they wept with those 
that wept, and they mourned in the mourning and lamentation of the 
church. But now, my brethren, we forget the afflictions of Joseph abroad. 
And, as it is said of them in Amos, * We drink wine in bowls, we stretch 
ourselves on our beds,' vi. 7 ; we give ourselves to music and mirth, and 
we take not to heart the distresses of the church. So likewise for the sins 
of the time, we see what the saints did of old. Ezra, chap. ix. 10, when he 
heard of the sins that were committed among the people — the holy seed had 
mingled themselves with the cursed nations, whom the Lord had cursed — 
he betakes himself to prayer, and to mourning, and fasting ; and there 
assembled to him many well affected men, and they trembled before the 
Lord, they cast down themselves, and wept in a solemn manner. 

Thus the saints of God did for the sins of their time. But now, my 
brethren, what do we ? We look on other men, and wonder that rulers 
and magistrates and public persons do no more. But what do we ourselves 
in private ? My brethren, do we lay to heart our own sins, the sins of our 


kindred and acquaintance, of our families, the sins of our neighbours, of 
our towns, of our places where we dwell and have our abode? Had David 
lived in these days, he would have washed our streets with rivers of tears, 
as he speaks of himself, Ps. cxix. 136, to have seen such pride, such im- 
piety ; to hear such oaths and blasphemies so frequent and so rife amongst 
us. We, on the other side, my brethren, see, nay, we act and commit, 
gross sins ; we hear, nay, we utter, cursed speeches and blasphemies and 
oaths, and commit abominable sins, and yet there are not rivers of tears, 
nay, not a tear almost shed amongst us. This is that we are to complain 
of now, that we do what we can to put off mourning, and to bereave our- 
selves of true comfort ; and this dryness and emptiness of tears, were it 
only of temper of body, and not from distemper of soul, the matter were 
more sufferable and more pardonable. But what shall we say for ourselves, 
when we have tears at command for every trifle, for every bauble, and have 
not tears for sin and for the dishonour of God ? If a friend cross us,_ we 
can weep ; if an unkind word be uttered, we sob and grow sullen ; if a 
loss or a cross befall us, we can pour out ourselves in carnal weeping and 
lamentation : but for the sins of our souls, for the sins of our friends, for 
the sins of our nation, for the unkindness that we offer to God, for the 
contempt that is cast upon his name, we cannot shed a tear ; and were it 
now that we were ashamed of these things, the matter were less. But, 
alas ! we take not to heart that we have not hearts to mourn, and we 
labour not so much as to grieve because we cannot grieve. In our carnal 
natural grief, we stand and plead, we think we have reason to mourn : I 
have lost such a friend and such a friend. We think we have cause to 
bewail our estate in regard of such outward misery as befalls us. But we 
see no cause, no reason to weep over Christ for the sins we have committed 
against God. 

We think many times carnal sorrow, which in truth is but poison, will 
do us good, a great deal of ease ; and when men have crossed us, and dis- 
appointed us, or dealt unkindly with us, we think we will go and weep^ it 
out ; and when we have cried and blubbered a while, we think that we give 
ease to our souls, and content to our hearts. But when we come to 
spiritual mourning, which only is comfortable mourning, we think that 
undoes us. Many a man thinks he forfeits all his joy, all his peace, all 
his liberty, all his happiness, and he shall never see a merry day again in 
this world if he gives way to mourning for sin, to sound repentance, to 
works of humihation, and examination of his own heart and ways. _ And 
hence it is that we do what we can to hold possession against the Spirit in 
sorrow and mourning. Oh misery ! Oh unhappiness of ours ! When we 
take things in this manner, when we take poison for cordial, and cordials 
to be no better than poison, no marvel though we have no more comfort of 
our tears and of our mourning ; for certainly our mourning for the most 
part is not a blessed mourning. We mourn not for sin, but for sorrow ; 
we mourn not for corruption, but for crosses : not because we have dealt 
unkindly with God, but because men deal unkindly with us. This is not 
a blessed mourning, and therefore it is that we find no comfort in it. 

Use 2. Well, in the next place, we have another use, to take Christ's 
direction for comfort. Who would, who can be without it ? Life is death 
without comfort. Every man's aim is to lead a comfortable life. Mark 
the way that Christ chalks out: 'Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall 
be comforted.' Do you believe Christ's word ? Do you believe that he 
knows what he Baith ? Can you rest in Christ's testimony and in his pro- 

VOL. VI. s 


mise ? Then, if e\er you will have comfort in your hearts, or in your lives, 
or in your ends, begin here, begin with spiritual mourning. Now that this 
you may do, we must, 

1. First shew you how spiritual mourning differs, and is discerned from 
other mourning. 

2. How it is gotten. 

3. How it is exercised. 

1 . For the first of this : Spiritual mourning /s known hij tJie ohjeds. Such 
as the object is, such is the faculty. Spiritual mourning hath spiritual 
objects, either materially or formally, as they speak in schools. This 
spiritual mourning is busied about spiritual goods and spiritual ills. Spi- 
ritual good, either the chief or universal good, which is God ; or subordi- 
nately good, as grace and comfort, the ordinance and worship of God. 
Spiritual ills, whether they be simply ill, as sin and impiety ; or painfully 
ill, yet with relation to sin, as a fruit of sin, and as a pledge of God's 
wrath and displeasure against it. We will instance in this first. 

For, first, if a man would know whether his sorrow be spiritual sorrow 
or no, let him see how he mourns for the absence of spiritual good things, 
how he mourns for the absence of God, the chief good. That is spiritual 
sorrow, when a man mourns because he hath lost God in his graces, in his 
communion, and in his comforts. This was a proof of David's sorrow that 
it was spiritual, because, as the Sci'ipture speaks elsewhere, he lamented 
after the Lord, and mourned after God. ' My soul,' saith he, ' thirsteth 
after the living God,' Ps. xlii. 2. He hungered after God, he was pained, 
and pinched at his soul when he could not see God, and enjoy God as for- 
merly he did. This was the reason of that idolater, Judges xviii. 24, seq., 
when his idols were taken from him, he cried after them : when a rude fel- 
low asked him what he ailed, ' What ail I ? ' saith he ; * you have stolen away 
my gods, and taken away my ephod, and do you ask what I ail? what more 
have you left me ?' What he speaks of his false gods, a true Christian heart 
may conclude much more of the true God. If the true God be departed 
from him, — stolen he cannot be ; — but if he be departed from him, that he 
have driven away God in Christ by his sinful and rude behaviour, that God 
hides his face, that he communicates not himself in his comforts and graces 
as formerly he hath done, this goes to his heart, this punisheth him, and 
grieves him more than any thing in the world. And so for inferior goods, 
a man that mourns spiritually, he mourns because he sees the want of good 
things, the want of faith, the want of grace, he finds a spiritual want, the 
absence of things spiritually good. A man that mourns spiritually, he 
mourns because the means of grace is taken from him, because he sees not 
his teachers, as the prophet saith, because there is no vision ; there is 
none to say, How long ? as it is in Haggai i. 4 : * How long shall the 
house of God lie waste ? the ways of Zion are unfrequented : the Sabbaths 
of the Lord are despised.' He mourns because he is kept away from the 
house of God, where he used to taste of the fat things of God's house, and 
where he used to see him in his beauty and in his glory. 

So this is spiritual mourning, when a man mourns because God in his 
love and in his comforts leaves him, and his countenance shines not upon 
him ; because the word of God and the gi-acc of God spreads not, that it 
stirs not sensibly within him, as formerly it hath done. And so likewise 
for ills. A man that mourns spiritually, he mourns for spiritual ills, to 
find so much corruption, so much pride, so much hypocrisy, so much self- 
love, so much worldliness, so much naughtiness in his own heart. This is 


his grief, as it was Paul's. He cries, tired, ' wretched man that I 
am, who shall deliver me from this hody of death ?' Rom. vii. 24. He 
weeps, and takes on more for the corruption of his nature, for the sins in 
himself, and in the people of God, than for persecution and disgrace, than 
for losses and crosses that befall him. So when a man mourns for sin, 
that he takes to heart the sins of his family, the sins of the state and of the 
church that he lives in, this is spiritual mourning. And so also when a 
man mourns for outward things spiritually, say he be poor, say he be 
afflicted, say he be famished, say he be persecuted, he t;irus all his griefs 
to godly grief; he apprehends Clod's displeasure. In these he apprehends 
and sees sin : in these he considers his crosses, in the cause, and in the 
root of them, in sin ; and so he mourns for sin and the cause. This is 
spiritual mourning. Now when a man thus mourneth for the absence of 
spiritual good things, and for the presence of spiritual ills that lie upon 
him and others, then he is said to mourn spiritually, and so he is a blessed 
man. This is all we can stay to say for the point. 

Quest. Now, in the next place, how shall a man do to get this spiritual 
mourning ? 

Ans. First, He must labour to have an heart capable of grief and sorrow 
that is sjnritual, a tender and soft heart. He must see that he have a 
disposition to holy mourning, able and inclinable so to do, when just 
opportunity and occasion is offered. Now how shall a man got this tender 
heart ? Why surely he must go to God in his means and ordinances, who 
hath promised, as you heard, in the covenant, to take ' the stone out of our 
hearts, and to give us soft and fleshy hearts.' This a man must do for it. 
Withal he must be ready in the next place, when God hath given him a 
tender heart, to stir up the graces of the Spirit that are in him, to raise up 
his affections and his sorrow, and to provoke himself to mourn and to 
lament upon due occasion. Thus that he may do, he must, 

1. First, Consider of a method that he must use ; and then, 

2. Of motives to stir him up thereunto. 

1. For method. (1.) First, He must have respect to the time, that he do 
not let his heart lie fallow too long. Jer. iv. 3, it is said, ' Plough up your 
fallow ground.' Ground, if it lie long unploughed, it will require much 
pains to rear it and fetch it up, but if it be oft done, it will be the easier. 
So it is with the heart of man ; he must not let his heart be fallow too 
long, but take it into task ever and anon, and labour to keep the flesh ten- 
der, and raw, and fresh, as we may say ; and then upon every occasion it 
will be ready to bleed and to pour forth itself. To this end a man should 
every day be exercised in the duty of a godly mourning, every night reckon 
for the passage of that day, and say with thyself, What sin have I commit- 
ted ? What have I done ? What have I said ? What have I seen this day ? 
What have I heard this day, that might be matter of humiliation and grief 
to me ? And so work this upon the heart, that it may be turned to tears 
of godly sorrow. 

(2.) Secondly, For the time, a man must he sure to take God's time. 
When God calls on him, when God gives them the heart, and is ready to 
close and to join with him, then take the advantage, set upon godly mourn- 
ing, when the Lord hath ransacked thy heart, when the Lord hath dealt 
with thee in the ministry of his word, when he hath applied himself to thy 
soul and conscience, and detected thy corruption, and shewed thee thy sin, 
and hath wounded thy heart in public with afiiictions, in private with 
terrors and fears. So when the nature of grief is stirred by the occasion 


of the word, then take the advantage of this, seize upon this for the king's 
use ; set upon sorrow whilst it is there, turn it into the right stream, into 
the right channel ; turn it for sin, weep for sin, and not for outward losses 
and crosses. Thus much for the time. 

2. Secondly, There is another thing to he done for the order, and that 
is this, that a man must be sure to give over carnal mirth and carnal mourn- 
ing, if he will mourn spiritually. His carnal laughter must be turned into 
mourning, as James speaks, iv. 9 ; and his carnal mirth must be turned 
into spiritual mourning too, or else he will never come to spiritual mourn- 
ing. But we cannot stand upon that. We will only touch the motives, 
because the time is run out, and so conclude for this time. Consider 
well what are the motives to set us to work to mourn, and to mourn 

The motives are many. He that will mourn must look to these. There 
is one rule generally for mourning, and that is this : He that will mourn 
spiritually, he must apply himself to God's means and motives only. There 
be that tell us of a course of getting of sackcloth and haircloth, and I know 
not what, to work godly mourning. This makes men superstitious, and 
not humble. He that is an holy mourner, he will follow God's directions, 
he will work upon his motives and reasons, and no other ; and therefore 
he mourns, because God bids him so mourn, for the Scripture bids us look 
upon Christ, not as he is in pictures, but in the word, presented upon the 
cross, and to weep, and to mourn, and to bleed out our souls there for 
our sins committed against him, and so to look upon him whom we have 
pierced, and to weep for him, as it is Zech. xii. 10. That is in general. 

Now, in particular, consider these motives. 

1 . It is needful for us to mourn. 

2. It is seasonable for us to mourn. 

3. It is profitable. And, 

4. It is comfortable. 

Of these we should have said something more largely if the time and 
strength had given leave, but seeing both fail, we will only touch them now, 
and leave them till we can further prosecute them. 

1. First, It is needful to mourn in a spiritual manner. Whosoever hath 
sin must mourn. Let him take his time and place, whether he will do it 
in this life or in that which is to come. Sin must have sorrow, that is a 
ruled case ; and he that will not willingly mourn, shall, will he or nill he, 
in another place. And therefore, my brethren, we see there is a necessity 
laid upon us in regard of our sins. It is needful also in regard of others, 
to draw them to it by our example and practice. I know not how it comes 
to pass, but we are all fallen into a wondrous sleepy age, a time of security. 
Men bless themselves in their courses. They secure themselves in a formal, 
ordinary kind of religion and profession, with an ordinary stint of holy 
duties, when there is no powerful, hearty, sanctifying actions done in secret 
for our own sins, and the sins of the times. Why, sith* that all men sleep, 
let us be wakeful, and since others have need of provoking to this duty, let 
Christian men lead them the way. Let their faces, and apparel, and enter- 
tainment, and all their carriage and behaviour, speak mourning and lamen- 
tation to other men. Secondly, As it is needful in regard of others, so 
also it is needful in regard of ourselves too ; for who doth not find in him- 
gelf a wondrous proneness to sin, and aptness to take infection from 
others ? Who finds not in himself a readiness to close with others in their 
* That is, ' since.' — G. 


sins ? The Wcay to preserve us is to mourn. That will preserve us from 
the infection now, and from judgment hereafter. How was Lot preserved 
in Sodom ? By hearing and seeing they vexed his righteous soul, &c. 
While Lot mourned for their sin, he was free from sin ; while he mourned 
for their impiety, he was free from the judgment. Because he did not 
partake of their wickedness, therefore he was not plagued with the wicked. 
If then we would not be infected by sin, if we would not be wrapped up in 
the common calamities and judgments, this course we had need to take, we 
must fall to mourning for our own sins and for their sins. 

2. Secondly, As it is needful, so also it is very seasonable. The very 
time tends that way, as it were ; the season is the time of weeping ; the 
church of God weeps abroad. It is the time, as I told you, of Jacob's 
trouble. Oh the sighs, oh the tears, oh the griefs and sorrows that cover 
and overwhelm the people of God in other nations, and other places ! 
The prophet David could say, his right hand should forget to play, rather 
than he would forget Jerusalem, Ps. csxxvii. 5 ; but I know not how, what 
for play, and for sport, and for ease, and feasting, and one thing or 
other, we forget Jerusalem, we forget the misery of the church in other 
places. "Well, now they pray, and call upon us, as far as Prague, as far as 
Heidelberg, as far as France, that we would take notice of their afflictions, 
and of their miseries ; at the least, that we would comfort them so far as 
to mourn for them.* As it is seasonable in regard of the afflictions of the 
church, so in respect of provoking of others of this nation. For sin is now 
grown to a fulness, to a ripeness. Oh the oaths that are sworn in one day, 
in one city, and in one town ! Oh the lies that are uttered in one fair, in 
one market daily ! Oh the sins that are committed by high and low of all 
degrees within the compass of twenty-four hours ! Who is able to reckon 
them ? And the sins that are committed with an high hand against the 
knowledge, and against the light of the gospel, and against the express 
letter of the law, the word of God, should not these things cause us to 
mourn ? They would cause a David to weep rivers of tears, and shall not 
we weep at all ? 

3. Thirdly, As it is seasonable, so it is ^n-qfitahle ; for godly mourning it 
never hurts, it alway helps. Carnal sorrow leaves a man worse than it finds 
him. It makes him more sick, and more weak, than it finds him. Spi- 
ritual sorrow leaves him better. He that can pour forth his heart before 
God, he that can go charged and loaden to heaven, with his heart full of fear 
and full of grief and full of sorrow, as ever it can hold, that man shall return 
back again loaden with joy, and peace, and comfort. Thou shalt never in 
thy life go before the Lord in sorrow and grief, and there spend but one 
quarter of an hour in tears, and prayer, and lamenting before the Lord, but 
thou shalt find thy heart somewhat lightened, somewhat eased and refreshed 
in so doing. Well then, since it is profitable for us, let us do it. As it is 
profitable for the soul, so it is for the body. This is the only means that 
is left to save ourselves. In Ezek. ix. 2, you know one was sent, with a 
pen and inkhorn, to mark out the mourners, that they might be saved in 
the common plague and judgment ; and that God might be gracious and 
merciful to them. It is the only thing that is now left us. We must 
betake ourselves to prayer, and tears, and to lamentation, if we would not 
have judgments to fall upon us. This is profitable for the whole state, if 
there be some righteous men. If there had been but ten of these mourners 
in five cities of the plague,! tbey had been upheld all for their sakes. The 
* Cf. Memoir, Vol. I. pp. Ivii.-lix.— G. f Qu. ' plain '?— Ed. 



righteous man upholds the land and nation ; they do beat back the judg- 
ments ; and therefore, for the common good, let us mourn. 

4. Lastly, It is very comfortable. It doth wondrously refresh a man. It 
is that that kills a Christian man, when he remembers many times the com- 
forts he hath had heretofore when his heart was enlarged ; and if he could 
pour forth himself, and weep as once he could have done before the Lord, 
he would part with all the world for an heart so tender, and so soft, and so 
enlarged. There is no comfort to this in a Christian, he prizeth it above 
all other comforts in this world. Then he thinks himself in a safe estate, 
in the best case, in a comfortable estate and condition, when he can 
mourn best, when he can weep and sorrow for his sins, and weep over 

Well, my brethren, let us consider these things, and now apply them to 
ourselves, and say, my heart, thou hast need to mourn, it is time for 
thee to mourn ! my soul, it is profitable for thee to mourn ! my 
soul, it is comfortable for thee to mourn ! If thou desire thine own profit, 
thine own ease, thine own comfort and safety, if thou desire life and salva- 
tion, betake thyself to this course ; gather thyself from company ; go alone, 
and set before thee thy sins thou hast committed, how bad thou hast been 
to God, how good he hath been to thee, what a kind Father he hath been, 
and what a froward child thou hast been. Lay these together till thou hast 
provoked thyself to some sorrow and tears. Thus if we could do, we should 
find comfort more than worldlings find in laughter, and in their merriment 
and sports ; we should find more comfort this way than we shall in cold 
and comfortless weeping for crosses, and lamenting for afiiictions ; but, for 
that and other uses of the point, I am enforced, whether I will or no, to 
defer till next time. 



Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. — Mat. V. 4. 

The lesson here is thus much, they that mourn in an holy manner, they are 
in an happy case. The proof of this doctrine is this, ' they shall be com- 
lorted.' We heard the last day, he is an happy man that can mourn in an 
holy manner ; he is happy in his judgment. A holy afi'ection argues an 
holy understanding. He is happy in his heart and inward temper, for 
holy mourning comes from a kind of spiritual softness and tenderness. 
He is happy in the efiect of his mourning. Holy mourning will keep out 
carnal and worldly sorrow. It is a sorrow that a man needs never to 
sorrow for again ; it is such a sorrow that tends to life and salvation. 
Worldly sorrow tends to death. He is happy in the issue of his mourn- 
ing, for mourning makes way for rejoicing. He that now weeps shall one 
day laugh. Nay, for the present, the more he mourns in an holy manner, 
the more solid and substantial is his present comfort. 

It is our folly and misery both, therefore, that we so utterly mistake the 
matter. We give way to a sorrow that will hurt us, and keep possession 
against that which will do us good. We see reason, as we imagine, why we 
should grieve in a passionate manner ; we can see no reason why we should 
mourn in a spiritual manner. It is our unhappiness we can find time and 
leisure for the taking in of poison, that tends to death ; we can find no 
place fit, no time, no opportunity for the receiving of a preservative that 
will bound and keep the heart against all poison. Of this point we have 
already said something too. What remains to be spoken of it in further 
uses we will gather in anon, and touch upon it in the prosecution of a new 
point if we can. 

We pass therefore from the doctrine here delivered, ' Blessed are the 
mourners,' and come to the reason of it, ' for they shall be comforted.' 
Let us join these together, and see how they do depend. The point will 
be thus much — 

Doct. 1. That spiritual mourning it ends in spiritual mirth. He that can 
mourn spiritually and holily, he shall undoubtedly and certainly be com- 
forted. Holy tears, they are the seeds of holy joy. You see our ground 



in the text for this point. For the clearing of it further, let us know that 
we have good security for it. 

1. The promise of God ; and then, 2. The experience of God's people. 

The best proofs that may be. First, the Lord undertakes in his promise 
two things touching our comforts : 

1. That all our godly sorrow shall end in true comfort. The next is, 

2. That all our godly mournings are attended and accompanied with com- 
fort for the present. 

1. For the first of these, you know the promise, sorrow and weeping shall 
fly away, and joy and gladness shall come in place, Isa. xxxv., last verse, 
which place will refer you to many more. God hath made a succession of 
these things, as of day and night. His children's day begins in the night 
and in darkness, and ends in the day. After sorrow comes comfort ; after 
they have mourned in a holy manner their sorrow shall be taken from 
them, and gladness shall come in the stead, Isa. Ixi. 3. The Lord Jesus 
is appointed of his Father to give beauty for ashes, the garment of glad- 
ness for the garment of sackcloth and mourning. God hath promised it 
shall be so ; God hath appointed Christ, and fitted him, and enabled him 
to this word, that so it may be. Not to insist on this, our mourning shall 
not only end in comfort, but it carries comfort along with it for the present. 
God hath undertaken it shall be so, speaking of the afflictions that should 
come upon the state : ' And my servants shall be full, but he,' the wicked 
and hypocrite, ' shall be hungry : my servants shall rejoice, but he shall 
mourn : my servants shall sing for gladness of heart, but you shall howl 
for heaviness of heart,' Isa. Ixv. 13. Lo, when afilictions come upon a 
state, such afflictions as make the wicked cry and howl, then God in judg- 
ment remembers mercy for his. They shall have matter of joy and triumph 
even then. So in Isaiah Ix., the beginning, he tells them, calling on his 
church, ' Arise,' saith he, ' and shine ; put on brightness and glory ; the 
Lord shall be a light unto thee in darkness.' When the church is enclosed 
with darkness, nothing but misery and affliction round about her, then the 
Lord shall shine* light, that is, he shall give comfort to his church. All 
their mourning and sorrow, their outward afilictions, shall cause them in- 
wardly to mourn in spirit. God will take off" the garment of mourning, and 
put on the garment of gladness in his due time. In the mean time, he will 
be a light to them in the midst of darkness. Thus God undertakes, this 
is the promise. Now, God promiseth nothing but what he purposeth, and 
God purposeth and promiseth no more than he will perform. Hath he 
said it, and shall he not do it ? It shall certainly come to pass. All the 
counsels of God shall stand ; every woi-d of God is pure. All the promises 
of God are 'yea and amen.' They are certainly made good to the hearts 
and consciences of all God's people through Christ. Since therefore God 
hath said it, it shall be thus ; sith Christ hath said, ' Mourn, and you 
shall be comforted,' we may build upon it that so it shall be. 

^ 2. To this promise of God let us add the c.rperience of GocVs people. We 
will speak of the church in the bulk, and the particular members of the 
church they have all found this true, they have reported it by their own 
experience, and passed their word for God that it shall be thus with God's 
people. ^ Thus the church is brought speaking in Micah vii. 8, ' Rejoice 
not against me, mine enemy : though I be fallen, yet shall I rise ;' com- 
fort will come at the last. Nay, while I sit in darkness, the Lord for the 
present will be a light and comfort to me. Thus you know again what the 

* Qu. 'send'?— G. 


churcli speaks, Ps. cxxvi. 6, from their own experience, ' They that sow in 
tears shall reap in joy.' There is a seed that doth fail sometimes and dis- 
appoint our hopes, but this seed it never fails, it falls upon good ground, 
it will take root. If the seed-time be wet, the harvest will be dry. ' They 
that sow in tears shall reap in joy ;' and in another, Ps. xcv., the latter 
end, ' light is sown to the righteous,' and he expounds what he means by 
light, joy to the upright in heart. So that though this seed lie covered for 
a time, yet notwithstanding there is light sown for the righteous, and they 
shall be sure to have it. Thus the church speaks and gives her word for 
God. So likewise you may see it in particular Christians. David always 
found this ; Ps. xciv. 19 saith he, ' In the multitude of the thoughts of my heart, 
thy comforts did glad my soul : ' when I was perplexed in my thoughts, my 
thoughts were tossed and tumbled up and down in mine own meditations, 
seeking here and there for comfort. Even then in this distress, and dis- 
traction, thy comforts, thy double comforts, as the word implies,* these 
comforts did refresh and glad this soul. So likewise Saint Paul, in 2 Cor. 
i. 4, he tells us that God did comfort him in all his tribulations ; and as his 
sorrows did abound, so his consolations did overtop and superabound. And 
hence we may say, as it were, of the saints of God, that which they 
extracted from their own experience and particular case, that God comforts 
the abject, those that are cast down, as Paul saith, 2 Cor, vii. 6, and that 
of David, Ps. xxx. 5, ' Heaviness may continue for a night, but joy comes 
to the righteous in the morning.' We see then that if we look to the 
experience of God's people, they from their own experience give testimony to 
this truth, and give us to understand that true spiritual mourning shall end in 
true spiritual joy and comfort. If all this suffice not, let us consider of these 
reasons, and then we shall see that it is but reason that we should do so. 

1. The first reason is drawn from the nature of sorrow and mourning. 
Sorrow is a kind of an imperfect thing, as it were. It is not made for itself, 
but for an higher and for a further end, to do service to something else, 
as it fares with all those that we call the declining affections. Hatred is 
servant to love ; fear doth service to confidence ; so likewise doth sorrow to 
joy. For God hath not appointed sorrow for sorrow's sake, but to make 
way for joy and true comfort. The physician doth not make a man sick 
for sickness sake, but for health's sake. 

Many men's lives have been hazarded by carnal joy, as well as by worldly 
sorrow. And they that know anything in stories, they know many a man 
hath been taken away, his life hath leaped out of his mouth, as it were, 
by reason of extraordinary laughter and carnal joy. But now, the joy of a 
Christian man, a spiritual joy, it is a safe joy. It hurts no man, but doth 
a man good ; it settles a man's mind, it strengthens his thoughts, it per- 
fects his wits and understanding. It makes him to have a sound judgment : 
it makes for the health of his body ; it makes for the preservation of his 
life ; it doth a man good every way. There is no provocation in it, there 
is no danger in it. Thirdly, as a Christian's joy is best in that respect, 
that it is the safest, so in this, that it is the surest joy. For this joy is an 
everlasting joy. The rejoicing of the wicked it is for a season, it lasts not 
long ; but the joy of the righteous, it is a constant joy in the root, and in 
the cause and in the matter of it. It shall never be taken from him. 
Indeed, everlastingness stands at the end of both kinds of joy. 

The wicked hath a joy, and there comes something after it that is ever- 

* The word teing "T|''Q')nDJ^) consolationes tuce in the plural. — G. 



lasting ; but that is everlasting shame, everlasting pain and anguish. The 
righteous he hath some joy here, and there is something that is everlasting 
that follows at the end of that ; but that is everlasting glory, everlasting joy. 
It is swallowed up of eternity. Further, the joy of the righteous is a more 
rational joy than the joy of the wicked : that is but brutish, as it were. A 
righteous man rejoiceth in matters that are worthy of his ]oy, those things 
that he hath reason to be glad of. He rejoiceth that his name is written 
in heaven ; he rejoiceth that Christ hath taken upon him his nature ; that 
the Spirit of God the Comforter dwells in him in the graces of the Spirit, 
&c. But now the wicked man, his is an uni'easonable joy ; he rejoiceth 
where he hath no matter nor cause of joy. You see many times madmen 
sing, and dance, and leap, and shout, and take on. Will you term this 
joy ? Alas ! this proceeds from distemper ; not that they have cause to be 
merry, but it is from distemper that they so rejoice, if you term it mirth. 
That which Solomon saith you may say of the laughter of the wicked, ' it 
is madness.' He laughs, and he can give no reason for it ; he rejoiceth for 
that which he hath no reason to rejoice in ; he rejoiceth in the creature, he 
rejoiceth in himself, in his own wit, in his own worth, in his own strength. 
He rejoiceth many times in his shame, in his torment, in those things that 
tend to his utter ruin and destruction. The righteous, then, hath the start 
of the wicked for matter of comfort and joy. He hath a more solid, a more 
safe and sure joy, a more sweet joy, a more reasonable joy a great deal 
than the other hath. As he is beyond him in his joy, — ■ 

So, in the next place, he is beyond him in his sorrow too. Our life must 
have comfort and sorrow. It is compounded of sweet and sour. As the 
year is compounded of winter and summer, and the day of day and night, 
so every man's life is made up of these two. He hath some fair and some 
foul days, some joy and some sorrow. Now as the righteous is beyond the 
wicked in his joy and comfort, so he is beyond him in his sorrow. First, 
his sorrow is far better ; it is a more gainful, a more comfortable sorrow than 
others' is. They are beyond the sorrows of the wicked in all the causes and 
in all the circumstances of them. 

(1.) First, The sorrow of the righteous it proceeds /^o»i a better spring 
and fountain than the sorrow of the wicked. The sorrow of the godly, it 
comes from a sound mind, from a pure heart, from an inside that is puri- 
fied from hypocrisy, from self-love, from private respects. Whereas, on the 
other side, the sorrow of the wicked comes from distemper of brain, from an 
utter mistake. He takes that to be matter of sorrow, which is no matter 
of grief ; he takes that to be matter of great grief that deserveth but a few 
tears, &c. Again, his sorrow comes from distemper of heart, from pride, 
from passion, from cursedness of heart and spirit, that he cannot stoop. 
It proceeds not from love to God or to mankind, but out of self-love, and 
from the miry puddle and filthy spring of pride and passion and error, &c. 

(2.) Secondly, The sorrow of the righteous, as it hath a better spring, so 
it is busied and taken up about better objects, about better matters. A wicked 
man howls and cries, and takes on many times for a trifle, for a bauble ; 
yea, many times, because he is disappointed and crossed in his lusts, in his 
base sins. The child of God finds himself somewhat else to do than to 
weep and to cry, and take on for trifles and vanities. He looks up to God, 
and is sorry he hath displeased him. He turns his tears into the right 
channel, and sets them upon his sin. He weeps for spiritual losses and 
crosses, for pubUc miseries and calamities, and he takes to heart such 
things as are worthy of a man's sorrow, and such as will perfect the aflec- 


tions, as every affection is perfected from the goodness of the object about 
which he works. 

(3.) Thirdly, The sorrow of the righteous is better than the sorrow of 
the wicked in regard of the vianner of their mourning. For the mourning 
of the righteous is a composed kind of sorrow. He mourns in silence ; he 
weeps to the Lord ; he carries it with judgment and discretion. His sorrow 
is a moderated sorrow ; he holds it within banks and bounds. "Whereas 
the sorrow of the wicked is a tempestuous, a boisterous, a furious kind of 
mourning and lamenting. He knows no mean. It is without hope. He 
observes no decorum. He forgets himself what he is, what he saith, what 
he doth almost. His mourning is little better than frenzy or madness. 

(4.) Last of all, they differ much in the end and upshot of their mourning. 
Godly sorrow, it doth a man good. It humbles him, as we said. It drives 
him from all purpose, from all practice of sin ; it makes him resolute against 
sin. On the other side, it draws him into the presence of God ; it brings 
him before the Lord in the ordinance of prayer, in the ordinance of fasting 
and humiliation. This is his sorrow, and therefore it shall end well ; 
whereas, on the other side, the sorrow of the wicked, it is a kind of vexing, 
tormenting sorrow, a painful sorrow, a despairing sorrow ; a sorrow that 
drives a man from God, and is mingled many times with much murmuring, 
sometimes with cursing, sometimes with oaths and blasphemies. This 
sorrow of the wicked, it hath not so good an issue. There is great differ- 
ence when a woman breeds a disease, and when she breeds a child. When 
a woman breeds a disease, there is no good comes of that : there is much 
pain, and no ease follows ; there is much sickness, and no comfort in the 
close. But when she breeds a child, though there be much pain, yet it 
quits the cost when the child is born : ' She forgets her pain, because a 
child is born into the world,' John xvi. 21. So it is in the state of the 
godly and the wicked. The wicked are ever in travail, as we read in Job, 
viii. 22 ; he is always travailing with fear and with grief, with passion, 
discontent, and horror, &c., but then he never brings forth any fruit ; and 
this travail, it never ends in comfortable birth. But it is contrary with the 
godly. He travails with pain, and with sorrow, and with fears ; and some 
tears, and sighs, and groans he hath for the present ; but in the end there 
is a dehverauce. He is delivered of his fears, and of his pain, and his 
sorrows ; and then comes joy and peace, and all his tears are wiped away ; 
and then his sorrows are forgotten, and joy comes, and takes possession. 
So that the joy of the godly it is far better than the wicked's joy ; and the 
sorrow that falls upon the good and the bad is far different. Both must 
needs sorrow in this vale of misery. But the sorrow of the godly, it is an 
hopeful sorrow, it is an healing sorrow, it is a comfortable sorrow, it is a 
fruitful sorrow ; whereas the sori'ow of the wicked is full of despair and 
vexation, and the further he wades in, the more danger he is in of drowning. 
Still, the righteous begins in the night, but ends in the day : saith David, 
' Heaviness may continue for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,' Ps. 
XXX, 5. The wicked sets forth in the morning, but then there comes dark- 
ness at night ; he begins merrily and happily, but then the issue is most 

Well then, to shut up this first reason